Monday, March 10, 2014

Lobbying for Failure

This was included in Mike Allen's Politico Playbook this morning.  Just despicable, betting on a company to fail and people to lose their jobs, then lobbying to try to make it happen, not among corporate competitors but hedge fund profits:

WASHINGTON, INC. -- N.Y. Times 2-col. lead, "After Big Bet, Hedge Fund Pulls the Levers of Power: Staking $1 Billion That Herbalife Will Fail, Then Lobbying to Bring It Down," by Michael S. Schmidt, Eric Lipton and Alexandra Stevenson : "At a Midtown Manhattan steakhouse last June, William A. Ackman, the activist hedge fund manager who had bet a billion dollars on the collapse of the nutritional supplement company Herbalife, offered his latest evidence to a handful of other hedge fund managers about why the company's stock could soon plummet. Mr. Ackman told his dinner companions that Representative Linda T. Sánchez, Democrat of California, had sent a letter to the Federal Trade Commission the previous day calling for an investigation of the company. The commission had not yet stamped the letter as received, nor had it been made public.
"But Mr. Ackman, who had personally lobbied Ms. Sánchez and stood to profit if the company's stock dropped as a result of the call for an inquiry, ... read from a copy of it that he had on his cellphone. ... Ackman's efforts illustrate how Washington is increasingly becoming a battleground of Wall Street's financial titans, whose interest in influencing public policy is driven primarily by a desire for profit - part of an expanding practice in the nation's capital, with corporations, law firms and lobbying practices establishing political intelligence units to gather news they can trade on."

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