Thursday, July 30, 2009


Pension Boss Hobnobbed With Execs, Then Gave Them Contracts

TPMMuckraker - Zachary Roth - ‎

Remember our old friend Charles Millard? He's the former Lehman investment banker who, after taking over the federal ...

PBGC to develop new investment policy

Pensions & Investments - Doug Halonen - ‎

The contracts, which had not been funded, were canceled following allegations that Charles EF Millard, former PBGC director, had inappropriate contact with ...

Your Cash for Trash Redux

Wall Street Pit - Randall Wray - ‎

... controlled the Federal Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation when it was headed by Charles Millard—who is now being investigated for improper conduct. ...

When Wall Street and Washington get messy - ‎

Look no further than the unfolding tale of Charles Millard, the former head of the US Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation. BlackRock (BLK, Fortune 500) and ...

BlackRock, Goldman Fund Contracts Pulled by US Pension Agency

Bloomberg - Sree Vidya Bhaktavatsalam, Holly Rosenkrantz - ‎

Charles EF Millard, a Bush administration appointee, took over in December 2007 as head of the agency, which guarantees pensions for 44 million Americans. ...

Long courtship for Washington business

United Press International - ‎

WASHINGTON, July 29 (UPI) -- US investment firms artfully wooed Wall Street insider Charles Millard after his appointment to manage a $50 billion federal ...

We're from Wall Street, and we're here to help

Reuters Blogs - Jeffrey Cane - ‎

... their way to try make themselves, er, ah, useful to Charles Millard after he was appointed by President Bush to run the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. ...

Think Goldman And BlackRock Are Cozy With The Government Now?

The Business Insider - ‎

One BlackRock executive wrote to another, “Try to get Larry seated next to Charles Millard,” referring to Mr. Fink, the company's chairman and chief. ...

US pension agency rescinds contracts with top firms

SmartBrief - ‎

A review of email messages between the firms and Charles EF Millard, the head of the agency, revealed that deals may have been struck between the two ...

Charles Millard wooed by BlackRock

Muckety - ‎

Wall Street trader Bernard Madoff was arrested Dec. 11 and charged with running a $50 billion "Ponzi scheme" that allegedly defrauded tens of thousands of ...

How Firms Wooed a US Agency With Billions to Invest

Gadsden Times - Eric Lipton - ‎

One BlackRock executive wrote to another, “Try to get Larry seated next to Charles Millard,” referring to Mr. Fink, the company's chairman and chief. ...


Lets keep those headlines coming Charlie Millard just loves to see his name in print.

VJ Machiavelli

No More Schumer

No More Pelosi

No More Rangel

No More Engel and his Million Dollar Home in Maryland

Wednesday, July 29, 2009


How Firms Wooed a US Agency With Billions to Invest

New York Times


Published: July 28, 2009

WASHINGTON — As a New York money manager and investment banker at four Wall Street firms, Charles E. F. Millard never reached superstar status. But he was treated like one when he arrived in Washington in May 2007, to run the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, the federal agency that oversees $50 billion in retirement funds.

BlackRock, one of the world’s largest money-management firms, assigned a high school classmate of Mr. Millard’s to stay in close contact with him, and it made sure to place him next to its legendary founder, Laurence D. Fink, at a charity dinner at Chelsea Piers. A top executive at Goldman Sachs frequently called and sent e-mail messages, inviting Mr. Millard out to the Mandarin Oriental and the Ritz-Carlton in Washington, even helping him hunt for his next Wall Street job.

Both firms were hoping to win contracts to manage a chunk of that $50 billion. The extensive wooing paid off when a selection committee of three, including Mr. Millard, picked BlackRock and Goldman from among 16 bidders to manage nearly $1.6 billion and to advise the agency, which Mr. Millard ran until January.

But on July 20, the agency permanently revoked the contracts with BlackRock, Goldman and JPMorgan Chase, the third winner, nullifying the process. The decision was based on questions surrounding Mr. Millard’s actions during the formal bidding process. His actions have also drawn the scrutiny of Congressional investigators and the agency’s inspector general.

An examination of thousands of pages of e-mail messages and other internal documents obtained by The New York Times shows the other side of the story: the two firms aggressively courted Mr. Millard, so extensively that they may have compromised federal contracting rules or at least violated the spirit of the law, contracting experts said. The records also illustrate the clash between Washington’s by-the-letter rules on contracting and the culture of Wall Street, where deals are often struck over expensive meals.

“Both sides should have known better,” said Steven L. Schooner, co-director of the Government Procurement Law Program at the George Washington University, who reviewed some of the material for The Times. “What happened here is wrong, stupid and probably illegal.”

BlackRock and Goldman, as well as Mr. Millard, all said that nothing improper happened either before the formal competition for the contract started last July, or while the competition, which concluded in October, was under way.

“Among the reasons that Mr. Millard was selected to head the P.B.G.C. is his understanding of the industry, his extensive background and the quality of his professional relationships,” said Stanley M. Brand, a lawyer for Mr. Millard. “He correctly separated his personal relationships from his official actions.”

A review of the documents shows that the third winner, JPMorgan Chase, had contacts with Mr. Millard before and during the competition, but did not display the same intensity as the other two.

Goldman and BlackRock saw Mr. Millard’s selection as a major business opportunity, the records show.

“This is a very big fish on the line,” one BlackRock executive wrote to another, discussing the government official.

Mr. Millard had at least seven meetings with Goldman executives in the year before the bidding started, and 163 phone contacts, the documents show. BlackRock had less frequent contact — 39 phone calls in that 12-month period. But one BlackRock executive told another that Mr. Millard had assured him in April, four months before the bidding, that he wanted to hire the company to help manage some of the money, company documents show.

“It sounds like we may have a tiger by the tail here,” one BlackRock executive wrote in an e-mail message.

The agency takes over pension programs when private companies go bankrupt. For years there was talk it might have to be bailed out by the government, and Mr. Millard, like many others, saw shifting from low-yield conservative investments like Treasury bonds to those with higher risks and higher potential returns as a way to solve the problem.

Before coming to Washington Mr. Millard had been a money manager for Prudential Securities and Lehman Brothers, a senior economic development official in New York City while Rudolph W. Giuliani was mayor, a member of the New York City Council and a Republican nominee for Congress.

Within weeks of his arrival at the agency, he told Goldman Sachs about his plans to shake up the agency’s portfolio.

“I just became head of the pension benefit guaranty corp in dc appointed by pres bush,” he wrote in a June 2007 e-mail message to John S. Weinberg, a vice chairman and a member of the family that has helped run Goldman since the 1930s. Mr. Millard told Mr. Weinberg, a longtime acquaintance, that he wanted to revamp the agency’s investment strategy.

“Is there a team at goldman that does this and that would be interested in pursuing this business?”

“Yes, absolutely!” Mr. Weinberg wrote back.

Almost immediately, Goldman started to work informally for Mr. Millard by providing one of its top pension analysts at no charge to prepare at least six reports over the coming year, based on internal agency data, detailing possible investment strategies.

Goldman also coached Mr. Millard as he sought to sway skeptics in the Bush administration.


Senator To Offer Legislation That Retools PBGC Board - ‎Jul 6, 2009‎

The hearing also tackled controversy surrounding former PBGC Director Charles Millard, who may have crossed the line with communication he had with ...


Another scandal or just a misunderstanding ?

VJ Machiavelli

No More Schumer

No More Pelosi

No More Rangel

No More Engel and his Million Dollar Home in Maryland

Tuesday, July 28, 2009


Follow the Pension Money

New York Magazine - Chris Smith - ‎Jul 26, 2009‎

For once, Hank Morris wasn’t wearing a crewneck sweater. The shapeless garment had become the Democratic political consultant’s uniform, no matter the season or occasion, whether at an Election Night victory party or at the funeral of a close friend. One day in 2004, however, Morris was in the gym. He spotted a longtime acquaintance, the hedge-fund manager Orin Kramer, whom he knew from Kramer’s years of big-money fund-raising and donating to Democratic candidates. Kramer also oversees pension-fund investments for the State of New Jersey, and at the time he was battling to create the most stringent regulations in the country for the Garden State’s retirement money. Kramer had focused on restricting the ability of investment managers to contribute money to politicians. Morris scoffed.

“Those rules are really stupid,” he told Kramer. “Under your rules, which are the most restrictive in the country, I could actually still be doing business and they wouldn’t apply to me, because I never wrote a political check.”

Kramer walked away thinking that Morris was, unfortunately, probably correct; no one could ever construct a perfectly corruptionproof regulation. He had no idea why Morris, long one of New York’s premier political strategists, cared about the arcana of state pension-fund regulations.

The next time Kramer saw Morris wearing something other than a crewneck sweater was March 2009. Suddenly, the gym conversation made awful sense. Morris was in a dark suit and a white dress shirt. His hands were cuffed behind his back. He had just been indicted on 123 counts of shaking down investment firms that wanted a piece of New York State’s $150 billion pension fund.

“I realized years ago that I didn’t know how to write rules that included someone’s closest fraternity brothers or members of his fishing party,” Kramer says sadly. “It also didn’t occur to me to say the rules would apply to the political consultant to any major officeholder.”

Hank Morris was big. He had a hand in most major New York Democratic political campaigns, and many others around the country, for nearly 25 years. He gave the state and the world Senator Chuck Schumer. His clients and protégés, from Christine Quinn to Josh Isay, are plentiful in the upper ranks of New York politics. That’s part of the reason Morris’s indictment and arrest have had such far-reaching ripples. His story is full of characters who don’t just cross paths but whose grudges and debts and favors double and triple back. Feuds begun in obscure intramural party maneuvers find their echo in federal court more than 30 years later. “This thing is like Madoff,” says one politically connected New York financier. “It touches everyone we know.”

But the sheer number of friends and acquaintances involved is only one reason why, to New York’s political class, Morris’s fall has felt like a death in the family. Calling the saga Shakespearean is a reach, but it is a tale of not just money and power but also fathers and sons and morality. Morris, 55, has pleaded not guilty, and some of his friends see him as the victim of a politically motivated attorney general, Andrew Cuomo, who is generating headlines by criminalizing a commonly accepted practice. “This is the way business was done,” a Morris friend says. “Not just here.

Yet Morris’s choice to capitalize, on a grand scale, on his intimacy with former State Comptroller Alan Hevesi and the state pension fund is ethically dubious, at best. “Look, when you’re a consultant at Hank’s level, all kinds of opportunities come to you,” a political rival says. “People want things from you. And you’ve gotta say yes or no.” The shock Morris’s friends and enemies have experienced over the past months is often coupled with another reaction: empathy. They too live in a world where trust is currency, the ability to bend the truth and navigate gray areas an art form, and rationalization a survival skill. Did one of their tribe, enamored of his own cleverness, cross the line?

He grew up in Westbury, Long Island, the middle-class son of a business executive at ABC-TV and a community-college librarian. In 1974, as a 21-year-old Columbia student with a taste for politics, Morris worked for Denis Dillon, the underdog Democratic candidate for Nassau County district attorney. Morris talked so well that he was soon running the campaign—and Dillon’s upset win over the Republican incumbent launched Morris’s reputation as a wunderkind strategist.

There was something besides Morris’s youth that made him distinctive in that era. “When we were younger, there was an idealism to our political activism,” says a Long Island Democrat who grew up with Morris. “Being involved was important; working in politics wasn’t. I remember Hank, in 1977, calling several of us to offer us jobs on the David Peirez campaign for Nassau County executive. I said to him, ‘What’s going on?’ He said, ‘I can get you great money for this!’ With Hank, there was always that preoccupation with money. It wasn’t evil. It was just this fixation.”


Would Hank Morris Have Been So Influential If He Hadn't Been Corrupt?

The Business Insider - ‎

In the eyes of alleged pension fund crook Hank Morris' friends, his massive pay-to-play scheme was motivated less by greed and corruption than "smartest guy ...

Wall Street's Self-Centered Reaction To New York's Pension Fund ...

The Business Insider - ‎

Earlier this year a veteran New York political operator named Hank Morris got served with a 123-count indictment alleging he masterminded a brazen scheme to ...

SEC rules target corruption - ‎1

That was the practice that precipitated a corruption investigation by state Attorney General Andrew M. Coumo into allegations that Hank Morris, ...

New CALPERS Strategy Is Just Begging For Trouble

The Business Insider - ‎Jul 24, 2009‎

It was such an accepted reality that by-all-accounts image-conscious men like Steve Rattner got so far into the scandal that he tried to hire Hank Morris, ...

SEC seeks rules to safeguard pensions

New York Daily News - Kenneth Lovett - ‎Jul 23, 2009‎

In that time, Hevesi's chief political operative, Hank Morris, quietly received more than $25 million in fees from firms doing business with the state ...


Yes, as in "Watergate" one needed to "FOLLOW THE MONEY"

VJ Machiavelli

No More Schumer

No More Pelosi

No More Rangel

No More Engel and his Million Dollar Home in Maryland

Thursday, July 23, 2009


SEC 'Pay-to-Play' Proposal May Stem Pension-Industry Abuses

Bloomberg - Jesse Westbrook - ‎

uly 23 (Bloomberg) -- The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s plan to restrict investment advisers from giving politicians money to win pension business may help stem abuses in an industry that oversees more than $2.2 trillion of public retirement funds, former regulators said.

The SEC’s five commissioners unanimously backed a proposal yesterday that would bar managers of hedge funds and private- equity firms from paying so-called placement agents to solicit pension investments. The measure would also bar firms from managing a pension fund’s assets for two years if its executives gave money to an elected official with sway over contracts.

“It’s generally understood that the way you get a ticket to compete for the management of public money is to make political contributions,” said Mercer Bullard, a former SEC attorney who’s now a law professor at the University of Mississippi. “This will shut down that business.”

The SEC and New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo are probing whether money managers illegally paid placement agents for access to New York retirement funds. Indictments and civil complaints depict officials who let political and personal ties trump merit in deciding which firms should be entrusted with taxpayer money.

The proposal “is a long time coming,” said Christopher “Kit” Taylor, who implemented similar rules for the municipal bond market in the 1990s, when he led the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board. “It will change the process on how money is given to the private-equity firms and other money managers.”

Employees Barred

Investment advisers pay placement agents for access to pension-fund money. The SEC proposal would bar money managers and some of their “executives and employees” from making such payments, according to an agency statement.

The SEC proposal would also keep investment advisers from asking another person or a political action committee to make contributions to officials with influence over pension assets. Investment managers would also face restrictions on directing their spouses, attorneys or affiliated companies from donating to campaigns.

Individuals who would face restrictions on contributions include owners of money-management firms, general partners and employees whose responsibilities include soliciting pension-fund business.

The SEC recommendations resemble rules proposed by the agency in 1999 that were never adopted. In the 10 years since the SEC considered the restrictions, it has seen “a number of criminal and regulatory actions that suggest the need to act to finally address these practices,” SEC Chairman Mary Schapiro said yesterday at a meeting in Washington.


SEC backs plan to curb investment firms'


USA Today - Kevin McCoy - ‎

... one of the state's former top pension fund officials, and Hank Morris, a key political adviser to former state comptroller Alan Hevesi. ...

SEC targeting 'pay-to-play' fund gifts

Boston Globe - ‎

Pay-to-play practices can result in public plans and their beneficiaries receiving sub-par advisory services at an inflated price,'' said Mary Schapiro, ...

SEC Revisits Pay-to-Play Reform

Bond Buyer - Andrew Ackerman - ‎2 hours ago‎

WASHINGTON - The Securities and Exchange Commission voted unanimously yesterday to repropose pay-to-play restrictions on investment ...

SEC Votes to Propose Rules That Will Ban 'Pay to Play'

Wall Street Journal - Sarah N. Lynch - ‎

... adviser Hank Morris of getting kickbacks from investment-management firms seeking to oversee the assets of the New York State Common Retirement Fund. ...

SEC Proposes Restricting Pay-to-Play at Pensions

Bloomberg - Jesse Westbrook - ‎

... of arranging for the state pension fund to invest $5 billion with money managers who had paid kickbacks to former Democratic adviser Hank Morris. ...

SEC proposes new restraints on 'pay-to-play' practices by ...

Gaea Times - Marcy Gordon - ‎

... the Quadrangle Group, paid more than $1 million to one of the individuals who were indicted, New York political consultant Hank Morris. ...

And Justice For All? Ha, ha, ha,ha

Black Star News - Edward Manfredonia - ‎

It appears that Andrew Cuomo, New York State Attorney General, is treating the bribery scandal involving Hank Morris by the boys of ...

The Morning Leverage: SWF Seeking PE Once More

Wall Street Journal Blogs - Hillary Canada - ‎Jul 21, 2009‎

Also appearing in the suit is Henry “Hank” Morris, who you may remember from such scandals as the New York State Common Retirement Fund pay-to-play. ...

GETTING PERSONAL: Placement Agent Ban May Hurt Small Managers

Wall Street Journal - Daisy Maxey - ‎Jul 21, 2009‎

New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo has alleged that Henry "Hank" Morris, a one-time top aide to former New York Comptroller Alan Hevesi, ...

DiNapoli Returns Contributions, Sticks To His Limits

New York Daily News - ‎Jul 20, 2009‎

The California-based investment firm has been linked to former political consultant Hank Morris, who was indicted after AG Andrew Cuomo accused him of ...


It seems pay to play is going to be harder to do, but if I know those "Players" they will find a way to get "PAID" they always do.

VJ Machiavelli





Saturday, July 18, 2009


Hevesi Donor's Selection Spotlights Pay-to-Play at Pension Fund

Bloomberg - Karen Freifeld - ‎Jul 17, 2009‎

July 17 (Bloomberg) -- EnTrust Capital Inc., a hedge-fund firm whose founders contributed to the campaign of New York Comptroller Alan Hevesi, received millions of dollars of pension money to invest while he was running the state retirement fund, public records show.

Hevesi’s staff suggested the state use EnTrust to invest its money, according to Consulting Services Group LLC, a company hired to vet and choose firms. EnTrust was one of 50 firms recommended by the fund in 2006 and 2007 to CSG and one of 15 firms chosen, said a person familiar with the matter. EnTrust’s vetting was a priority, a person familiar with the process said.

Hevesi, comptroller from 2003 to 2006, and CSG are being investigated by U.S. regulators and New York’s attorney general over corruption at the fund, valued at $140 billion in 2006. To show criminality or liability, it must be established that the parties involved had the intent to trade a kickback or a campaign contribution for state business, lawyers said.

“Pay-to-play is absolutely at the core of all this,” said John Coffee, Columbia University securities law professor. “Underlying is an unwritten norm of reciprocity. If you want money, you have to contribute and, if you do contribute, you can expect that money will be given to you for investment.”

Coffee said it’s harder to prosecute contribution-related deals for state business than kickbacks paid as fees. “You have to be able to show a specific quid pro quo,” he said.

Hevesi received campaign donations from 46 percent of the hedge fund and private-equity managers he picked to manage state money for the first time, according to state records.

Hevesi Defense

Investment managers were selected by staff and independent advisers “solely on the basis of whether the funds are good investments,” David Neustadt, Hevesi’s then-spokesman said when the statistics were disclosed in 2006.

It’s not current practice to suggest to vetting companies such as CSG which firms should be given state money, said Robert Whalen, a spokesman for the New York state comptroller’ office.

EnTrust’s situation came to light when CSG told clients in a June 30 letter that state pension fund personnel “suggested” EnTrust as a money manager. After vetting, EnTrust got $15 million on July 1, 2006, the same day CSG, which also managed a so-called fund of funds for New York, got $200 million to parcel out to investment firms, according to Whalen.

CSG chose 13 other firms on its own during the same 2006- 2007 period, the person familiar with the matter said. It didn’t specify which personnel steered it toward EnTrust or if it was told of the contributions to Hevesi. Hevesi pushed EnTrust as a fund recipient, a person familiar with his recommendations said.

CSG Comment

“CSG has no comment on the letter or its contents,” Ellen Moskowitz, a spokeswoman for the Memphis-based company, said.

Hevesi’s fund role is an “ongoing matter” in a two-year investigation, New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo said last month when asked why the former comptroller, named in indictments of others in the pension-fund scandal, had not been charged or cleared. Alex Detrick, a spokesman for Cuomo, said there has been no change in Hevesi’s status.

“Alan Hevesi categorically denies pushing EnTrust at anytime and to anyone,” his lawyer, Bradley Simon, said in an e-mailed statement.

Hevesi resigned as comptroller in December 2006 after pleading guilty to using state employees to chauffeur his wife. Thomas DiNapoli was named in February 2007.

Cuomo’s office has said EnTrust is not being investigated. Cuomo, who used EnTrust to invest personal and campaign funds, recused himself on any matters involving the firm. His office has been focusing on illegal kickbacks paid by financial firms to so-called placement agents, including Henry “Hank” Morris, to win pension-fund investment business.

Hank Morris Charged

Morris, Hevesi’s former chief political consultant, was indicted in March by Cuomo and accused of taking kickbacks and pressuring fund managers for campaign contributions. CSG is among the firms that hired Morris. It denies wrongdoing.

“The CSG matter is ongoing, and we therefore cannot comment on it,” Detrick said in an e-mailed statement. “There has been no change with respect to the status of EnTrust.” CSG is in preliminary talks with Cuomo’s office to resolve his probe of the firm, according to a person briefed on the investigation.

EnTrust has not been named by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, which sued Morris. The SEC previously declined to say if it is investigating EnTrust or CSG, which is named in the agency’s complaint against Morris. CSG said in its letter that the SEC had warned the company of a possible agency suit against it involving placement agents and pension funds.

John Heine, a spokesman for the SEC, declined to comment on whether the disclosures in the CSG letter will be investigated.

Liberty Oak

EnTrust’s Capital Waters Fund Ltd. received the $15 million in 2006 through CSG’s Liberty Oak Capital Fund LP, a portfolio of hedge-fund investments. CSG created Liberty Oak in 2006 for the state pension fund. CSG, as a general partner of the fund, managed hedge-fund investments for the state. After Hevesi left office, Entrust received another $5 million in state funds through Liberty Oak on June 1, 2007, Whalen said.

“EnTrust never retained or made any payments to Hank Morris or any other third party in connection with the Liberty Oak investment, nor did it ever ask Alan Hevesi or any CRF personnel to direct CSG to allocate funds to EnTrust,” Brandy Bergman of Sard Verbinnen & Co. in New York, a spokeswoman for EnTrust, said in a statement, referring to New York’s Common Retirement Fund.

“EnTrust had absolutely no role in CSG’s manager selections, and only received funding after successfully completing the same due diligence process CSG applied to all hedge funds,” she said.

EnTrust Was Qualified

CSG said in its letter that it concluded EnTrust was qualified to manage the investments.

EnTrust never used or paid Morris as a placement agent so there was no investigation of it, Cuomo’s Chief of Staff Steven Cohen said last month in disclosing Cuomo’s recusal.

Cuomo and the SEC are investigating money managers and their placement agents who used ties to public officials and kickbacks to buy and sell access to the $2 trillion in U.S. public pension systems. The regulators’ indictments and civil complaints depict officials allowing political and personal ties and financial self-interest to trump merit when deciding who was to be entrusted to invest taxpayer money.

Cuomo recused himself over EnTrust when he took office in 2007, Cohen said. Cuomo has received campaign contributions from EnTrust’s principals, just as Hevesi had, public records show.

EnTrust was founded in 1997 by Goldman Sachs Group Inc. alumni Gregg Hymowitz, Michael Horowitz and Mark Fife, according to the firm’s Web site.


Why Did Steven Rattner Step Down as Car Czar?

MotorTrend Magazine - Todd Lassa - ‎

New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo is investigating whether Rattner directed Quadrangle to pay $1.1-million to political consultant Hank Morris in order ...

Steven Rattner leaves auto job as New York AG seeks settlement

The New Mexico Independent - Heath Haussamen - ‎Jul 17, 2009‎

Hank Morris is under indictment in the New York case, accused of using his position in that state's comptroller's office to shake down companies wanting to ...


Where will it all end, that is the question many are asking. I have said many times Pensiongate scandal is bigger than Watergate, and for the most part it is all about well contacted and RIch Democrats trying to get richer.

VJ Machiavelli





Friday, July 17, 2009


peHUB: Steve Rattner buys $4 million house before leaving DC

Reuters Blogs - ‎

When Steve Rattner stepped down as auto czar earlier this week, Tim Geithner said the following: “Steven Rattner, whose leadership and vision were ...

Rattner Loses Again

Cityfile - ‎

Rattner Loses Again | Poor Steve Rattner. As if it wasn't bad enough that he's embroiled in a scandal over pension fund bribes, may face criminal charges ...

Your morning jolt: Here a czar, there a czar

Atlanta Journal Constitution - Jim Galloway - ‎

The White House said Steven Rattner decided to return to private life and his family in New York City. But his brief tenure came under a cloud with an ...

New Car Czar: Investment Banker Turned Union Advisor

AllGov - ‎

Whether “Car Czar” Steven Rattner has stepped down because of a growing public corruption probe by New York's attorney general or because his specialty is ...


It seems Steven Rattner has stimulated the housing market in Washington.

VJ Machiavelli

No More Schumer

No More Pelosi

No More Rangel

No More Engel and his Million Dollar Home in Maryland

Thursday, July 16, 2009


Did Pay-To-Play Probe Cause Rattner's Resignation?

TPMMuckraker - Zachary Roth - ‎

So: is Steve Rattner stepping down as the Obama administration's car czar because of the investigation into whether his private-equity fund used pay-to-play tactics to win business from New York's public pension fund?


First, let's recap: New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo has been conducting a broad investigation into whether investment funds paid politically connected middlemen to help them win contracts to manage state pension funds. Rattner allegedly arranged for the private-equity fund he co-founded, Quadrangle, to pay $1.1 million to the political consultant Hank Morris to help the fund win business from the New York pension board. Morris has since been indicted and charged with selling access to the board. The SEC is also conducting its own investigation.

Here's the evidence that suggests Rattner's unexpected departure is probe-related:

• The very day -- Monday -- that Rattner's departure was announced, both the New York Times and Reuters reported that Cuomo's probe of Rattner and Quadrangle had intensified. (Rattner is a former Times reporter and a close friend of publisher Arthur Sulzberger.) The following day, the AP reported that Cuomo is seeking a civil settlement with Rattner.

• In an email that Rattner sent to friends in February announcing that he was taking on the car czar job, he wrote that after 26 years on Wall Street, "I have begun a new phase of my life, in the public sector." As Slate's Mickey Kaus puts it: "Short phase."

• Rattner is a committed Democratic loyalist. He's a major fundraiser for the party, and his wife, Maureen White, is a former DNC finance chair. Given those ties, it's not hard to imagine that he could have been convinced to fall on his sword for the good of the president he helped elect -- a president who can ill-afford to see the man he put in charge of the auto bailout enmeshed in a Wall Street scandal.

• The Washington Post reports that some senior administration officials were taken by surprise by the abrupt announcement Monday of Rattner's resignation.

• Private equity expert Dan Primack, who has watched Rattner and Quadrangle closely, thinks there's a there there. Primack twittered Monday:


Rattner probe closes in on settlement

United Press International - ‎

NEW YORK, July 15 (UPI) -- A two-year investigation involving former US Treasury consultant Steve Rattner has reached discussion of a settlement, ...

Obama's Car Czar Linked to Bribery Scandal

The New American - Thomas R. Eddlem - ‎

President Obama's Auto Task Force Chairman Steven Rattner resigned suddenly earlier this week after reports that the New York Attorney General's office was ...

Investigation of Obama's former top auto adviser intensifies

SmartBrief - ‎

The investment firm founded by Steven Rattner, the recently resigned head of the Obama administration's auto-industry task force, is the focus of a ...


Pensiongate is bigger than Watergate and has a cast of Democratic Millionaires as stars.

VJ Machiavelli

No More Schumer

No More Pelosi

No More Rangel

No More Engel and his Million Dollar Home in Maryland

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


NY Quadrangle Probe Intensifies

By Tomoeh Murakami Tse

Washington Post Staff Writer

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

NEW YORK, July 14 -- New York Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo has stepped up his investigation of an investment firm founded by the former head of the Obama administration's autos task force, with authorities engaging in discussions that would be "a prelude to any settlement talks," according to a source close to the case.

Although talks between law enforcement and representatives of the Quadrangle Group -- founded by Steven Rattner, who abruptly resigned Monday from the auto task force -- have intensified in recent weeks, no settlement is imminent, the source said.

"There have been no discussions of specific terms of settlement," said the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the investigation is ongoing. "The discussions have concerned the nature of the case."

Cuomo's office and the Securities and Exchange Commission have been investigating for two years the use of middlemen by Wall Street firms to win lucrative business from major public pension funds. The probe centers on millions of dollars in payments made by Quadrangle and other firms to middlemen who helped the firms win investments from the pension funds of New York state and other local governments.

In SEC filings, a "senior executive" at Quadrangle, whom sources have identified as Rattner, is described as having arranged a $1 million-plus payment to a middleman. That middleman, Hank Morris, along with several others, has been criminally charged. Morris has denied any wrongdoing.


AP source: NY AG may press for Rattner settlement

The Associated Press - David B. Caruso - ‎

... the Quadrangle Group, paid more than $1 million to one of the people indicted in the case, New York political consultant Hank Morris. ...

Cuomo's Rattner Paradox

Black Star News - Edward Manfredonia - ‎

Rattner's firm paid a political insider, Hank Morris, via Morris' firm Searle & Co., $1.1 million in fees to obtain an investment from the New York State ...

The Car Czar's Recall

New Republic - Edward Jay Epstein - ‎

To get business. he had employed Henry "Hank" Morris, a top advisor for then-New York State Comptroller Alan Hevesi to act as a placement agent for ...

Auto Czar Leaves Washington Amidst Pay-to-Play Probe Involving ...

FOXNews - Judson Berger - ‎

Though two former officials in the comptroller's office -- David Loglisci, the former chief investment officer, and Hank Morris, a former adviser to the ...

Quadrangle's Rattner Quits As US Auto Czar

FINalternatives - ‎

That aide, Hank Morris, has been charged with taking kickbacks in exchange for helping money managers win mandates from the New York State Common Retirement ...

Steve Rattner Steps Down From Auto Task Force

New York Times Blogs - Michael J. de la Merced - ‎

Six individuals, including Hank Morris, an associate of New York's former comptroller, have been charged criminally. Mr. Morris denies the charges. ...

White House Auto Industry Adviser Steven Rattner Abruptly Resigns

AHN - Kris Alingod - ‎

Two former aides of Hevesi, Henry "Hank" Morris and David Loglisci, were charged in March with a 123-count indictment including fraud, bribery, ...

President Obama's car czar Steven Rattner drives off under cloud

New York Daily News - Kenneth Lovett, Kenneth R. Bazinet - ‎

The Daily News first reported in February Rattner's links to the pension fund and Hank Morris, a top political consultant tied to the investigation. ...

Rattner leaving administration auto post

United Press International - ‎Jul 13, 2009‎

Cuomo's office has filed criminal charges against six people as part of the investigation -- including Hank Morris of Searle and Co., a Connecticut company ...

Obama's Chief Auto Adviser Steps Down

Free Internet Press - ‎Jul 13, 2009‎

Cuomo's office has filed criminal charges against six individuals, including Hank Morris, an associate of New York's former comptroller. ...

Scrutiny of Quadrangle Intensifies

Wall Street Journal - Craig Karmin - ‎Jul 13, 2009‎

The attorney general has charged six people, including former political advisor Hank Morris who has denied the allegations and is fighting the charges. ...

New York pension fund investigation focuses on conflicts of interest

RocNow - Gary Craig - ‎Jul 13, 2009‎

In March, a grand jury indicted well-known Democratic political consultant Hank Morris, a longtime Hevesi ally, and David Loglisci, who previously managed ...


Pensiongate is bigger than Watergate, with a cast of big time Democrats.

VJ Machiavelli