Freitag, Mai 08, 2009

Another Data Points For The Trend...IV

Here is another data point:

Pension Players.

This is the key quote:

But its emergence as one of six firms that collected finders' fees for securing public pension fund investments in both New York and New Mexico -- along with them Wetherly, Morris' firm Searle, and a firm called Gold Bridge run by a Sacramento lobbyist -- is the latest indication that the alleged pay-to-play scams that have roiled the nation's retirement funds involved a vast and deeply-enmeshed web of super-connected players. It's unlikely that the most prominent boldfaced names thus far dragged into the scheme -- like money manager turned car czar Steve Rattner, had any clue about the more brazen practices of the scheme's masterminds. But the investigation stands to shed considerable light on those players perceives as "normal" in the unregulated world of middlemen who control access to the pursestrings of public finance.

The key phrase: "a vast and deeply-enmeshed web of super-connected players."

Finding and identifying these folks is the key to identifying and ending the corruption involved with public pension fund investments via "placement agencies", which apparently exist as parasitical organizations off public pensions. No one needs these folks: getting investment instruments and public pensions funds together is something that the pension fund managers should be doing, if they were doing their job.

Which apparently they're not. While apparently nothing illegal is happening, the point is that there is no reason for these people to be getting paid literally millions of dollars to fulfill a service that the government is supposed to do. This is what the more subtle forms of corruption do: they replace government employees with private services without need. The fund managers are still there, but once the "placement agencies" are used, they get a commission.

Nice work if you can get it. Of course, you have to be part of that "vast and deeply-enmeshed web of super-connected players".

Oddly enough, if you take a look, you see that this connects back to the ... Clinton White House and the use of the Lincoln Bedroom as payoff for campaign contributions. Not exactly one of Bill Clinton's more stellar moments - he did have some, albeit not usually of his choice (welfare reform, which the Republicans in Congress pushed through, comes to mind, which really annoyed most of his supporters) - and clearly an ethical violation.

Who was it that said "not even the appearance of impropriety?"

President Carter, in a "pledge to avoid even the appearance of impropriety" in choosing his cabinet appointees, said that.

Looking at the data points for this trend, it is hard to avoid not finding impropriety. This is probably the biggest challenge facing not merely the Republicans, but the entire country: finding and rooting out corruption. Like the man said: a vast and deeply-enmeshed web of super-connected players.

Who are, in the vast majority, part and parcel of the Democratic Party machine.

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