Political money is a featured dish on the spending menu of Tampa-based Outback Steakhouse restaurants. The chain was controlled by Bain Capital until last month, when its parent, Bloomin’ Brands, went public in an Initial Public Offering. Bain and its investors stand to earn an estimated 88 percent return on their investment in the company.
Almost everyone now knows Bain’s critical role in building Mitt Romney’s wealth as a leading light of the 1 percent. And, Ann and Mitt Romney are investors in the particular Bain fund that bought and then sold Bloomin’ Brands.
But few noticed that Outback’s Political Action Committee (OSI PAC, also known as OSI Restaurant Partners) this year emerged as the restaurant industry’s biggest political donor. So far in 2012, OSI PAC has given more money to political candidates than the PACs of any of these bigger and better known firms: Coca-Cola, McDonald’s, Pepsi, Taco Bell,