Let’s play the new Obama administration game, “Guess The Missing Resumé Entry,” with our first subject, Boris Bershteyn. President Obama appointed Bershteyn to replace the departed Cass Sunstein as head of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs. Prior to Bershteyn’s appointment, the White House published a track record within the administration for Sunstein’s replacement, in the August 3rd valediction hailing Sunstein’s work at OIRA:
In Cass’s place, Boris Bershteyn, OMB’s General Counsel, will be stepping in to serve as Acting OIRA Administrator. Boris brings with him a tremendous knowledge of regulatory affairs, and currently serves on the Council of the Administrative Conference of the United States, an independent federal agency dedicated to improving the administrative process through consensus-driven applied research. Boris has served as OMB General Counsel since June 2011 and as the Deputy General Counsel from 2009 to 2010. Between his tours at OMB, he served as Special Assistant to the President and Associate White House Counsel, with responsibility for legal issues in regulatory, economic, health, and environmental policy. I know Boris will ensure a smooth transition as he picks up where Cass left off.
Eight months earlier, the White House published a more extensive bio note for Bershteyn:
Boris Bershteyn, Appointee for Member (Government Official), Council of the Administrative Conference of the United States
Boris Bershteyn currently serves as the General Counsel of the Office of Management and Budget. He served as Special Assistant to the President and Associate White House Counsel at the Office of White House Counsel from 2010 until the summer of 2011 and as the Deputy General Counsel of the Office of Management of Budget from 2009 to 2010. Prior to joining the Administration, Mr. Bershteyn practiced law at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher and Flom, LLP, and at Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen and Katz in New York. He served as a Law Clerk for Justice David H. Souter of the U.S. Supreme Court and Judge José A. Cabranes of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. He holds a B.A. in Economics and Political Science from Stanford University and a J.D. from Yale Law School.
You know, there’s something missing from this, a little je ne sais quoi, a hint of … vulture capitalism:
President Obama’s campaign just loves to refer to rival Mitt Romney’s tenure at Bain Capital. They’ve made plenty of hay out of his time with the company (“home of the vulture capitalists!”), bringing it up at every turn possible.
But in one context, the White House dared not utter the B-word. President Obama named Boris Bershteyn to step in to head the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs after the departure of Cass Sunstein, but his official bio makes no mention of Bershteyn’s time at consulting firm Bain & Co. (that’s where Romney worked before founding the spinoff private equity firm Bain Capital).
Why hide it? Bershteyn didn’t work for Bain Capital, after all. Wouldn’t the White House like to show that they have added some private-sector experience? Apparently, the Obama campaign has made the word “Bain” by itself so toxic, at least in their own eyes, that they won’t even admit that their new regulatory chief had any connection at all to Romney’s firm, no matter how tangential it might be.
Of course, that doesn’t explain why Team Obama still has Jonathan Lavine as one of its bundlers. Unlike Romney, who withdrew from management at Bain in 1999, Lavine was a managing director at the time that Bain-owned GST Steel laid off hundreds of workers, including Joe Soptic. The campaign still hasn’t explained why they continue to attack Romney for a decision made after his departure while having a Bain Capital managing director of the actual time of the layoff raising money for them. Perhaps that’s the question the White House really wants to avoid.