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Wall Street Buys Albany

Posted by Larry Doyle on April 18, 2009 1:00 PM |

The “pay to play” game in which municipal, state, or federal officials solicit or accept kickbacks in turn for directing government business is regrettably deeply embedded into our political and financial industries. As much as authorities and regulators talk about cleaning it up, without aggressive deterrents in place to truly punish parties on both ends of a transaction, these corrupt activities will continue.

As we follow the money once again, we see that it leads to a firm named Quadrangle, recently headed by Steven Rattner, the current car czar. Associates at Quadrangle have been implicated in providing kickbacks to individuals who manage the allocation of funds from the New York State pension.

This scenario has all the sordid details of a B-rated movie or a tawdry teenage novel. While the characters involved may be cheap in terms of character and integrity, the cost borne by taxpayers and society is very dear. If one allocation of funds from the pension is polluted by kickbacks, it would be naive to think that many dollars emanating from the New York State pension is not similarly polluted.

Why is it that President Obama selected Steven Rattner for the high profile position of car czar? To be perfectly honest, I would imagine that Secretary Geithner and Larry Summers selected Rattner. Geithner and Summers know how to play the Wall Street game and have benefitted from it.

Rattner can not be responsible for every individual on his watch at Quadrangle. However, it again defies logic that a person in Rattner’s seat at Quadrangle is not FULLY informed about such a large piece of business as an investment from the New York State pension fund.

Against that backdrop, why would Geithner and Summers promote his name and why would Obama select him for this role? Is Steven Rattner the only individual in this nation capable of overseeing the restructuring of the auto industry? If so, that is a sad commentary on the state of our automotive advisory capabilities.

Bloomberg reports, Rattner Retains Obama’s Confidence Amid Pension Fraud Probe. Well good for Rattner, but what about the citizens of this country? Do the citizens of the country have confidence in Rattner? Do the citizens have confidence in the political process, the policies, Geithner, Summers, and Obama?


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