Thursday, October 15, 2009

Bruce Wasserstein, Rahm Emanuel's bankster sugar daddy and big Dem donor, dies of heart failure

Jewish Banker Bruce Wasserstein, Chairman and CEO of Lazard, one of world's largest investment banks, died of heart failure on October 14.

From the Telegraph:
Never shy of controversy, Wasserstein could claim to have had a hand in more than 1,000 merger and acquisition deals in the course of his career, amounting to some $250 billion in value. Whether in defence or on the side of the hostile bidder, he deployed a mastery of takeover techniques, a sharp tongue and formidable powers of persuasion to keep his clients in the game to the last hand – hence "Bid 'Em Up Bruce", a sobriquet which he was said to hate.

Wasserstein was a big Democratic Party donor, and apparently knew how to grease the skids by "investing" in politicians and political operatives, as well.

From Current:
Obama’s chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, earned more than $18 million in just two and a half years when he left Bill Clinton’s White House, where he was an aide, to join big time Democratic donor and Wall Street dealmaker Bruce Wasserstein’s investment banking boutique, Wasserstein Perella & Company, as a consultant. He also benefited from the sale of Wasserstein Perella to a German bank, which provided him with an unusually large payout, The New York Times reports. Not only did the dalliance with banking make Emanuel rich, it provided him with strong ties to the banking sector at a time when the new Obama administration is planning a sweeping regulatory overhaul of Wall Street. Emanuel says his links with bankers will not lead to special favors. “I would say I’ve been as tough on my friends as others,” he said. “I call it like I see it.”

After Emanuel's tenure, Wasserstein was quoted on his hiring by the New York Times:

“I had this idea that this could work and that it had upside. It worked out better than I could have hoped.”

The Times went on to note:
The period before he was elected to a House seat from Illinois is a little-known episode of Mr. Emanuel’s biography. Former colleagues said the insight it afforded him on the financial services sector is invaluable especially now. But Mr. Emanuel built up strong ties with an industry now at the heart of the economic crisis, one that will be girding for a pitched lobbying battle next year as the incoming Democratic administration considers a potentially sweeping regulatory overhaul.

After Mr. Emanuel left banking to run for Congress, members of the securities and investment industry became his biggest backers, donating more than $1.5 million to his campaigns dating back to 2002, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

Mr. Emanuel also leaned heavily upon the industry while he was chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee during the 2006 midterm elections. Financial industry donors contributed more than $5.8 million to the committee, behind only retirees.

--compiled by Chris Moore

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