Sunday, November 23, 2014

"60 Minutes" Omits LaHood's Infrastructure PEU Job

60 Minutes reported:

Ray LaHood: Our infrastructure is on life support right now. That's what we're on.

Few people are more aware of the situation than Ray LaHood, who was secretary of transportation during the first Obama administration, and before that a seven-term Republican congressman from Illinois. He is currently co-chairman of Building America's Future, a bipartisan coalition of current and former elected officials that is urgently pushing for more spending on infrastructure. 

60 Minutes failed to mention LaHood's two other jobs that deal with infrastructure.  LaHood is Senior Advisor to Meridiam Infrastructure, a private equity underwriter (PEU) specializing in infrastructure and  Senior Advisor to law firm DLA Piper.

DLA Piper announced that former US Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood has joined the firm as a senior policy advisor in the Washington, DC, and Chicago offices. Joan DeBoer, Secretary LaHood’s former chief of staff, will also join the firm as a policy advisor.
NextCity reported:

LaHood joined law firm DLA Piper as a senior adviser earlier this year. (The term “lobbyist” was not used, but DLA Piper does occasionally dabble in lobbying for transportation projects. Legally, LaHood is not allowed to lobby the Department of Transportation, but Congress — which he used to be a member of, as a representative from Illinois — is fair game.)
Back to the 60 Minutes interview with LaHood:

Steve Kroft: Why? How did it get this way?
Ray LaHood: It's falling apart because we haven't made the investments. We haven't got the money. The last time we raised the gas tax, which is how we built the interstate system, was 1993.
Steve Kroft: What has the resistance been?
Ray LaHood: Politicians in Washington don't have the political courage to say, "This is what we have to do." That's what it takes.
Steve Kroft: They don't want to spend the money? They don't want to raise the taxes?
Ray LaHood: That's right. They don't want to spend the money. They don't want to raise the taxes. They don't really have a vision of America the way that other Congresses have had a vision of America.

Actually, Congress has a PEU vision for America.  They don't want to tax the billionaires who fund their campaigns and will likely employ them post "public service."  Those billionaires expect a rotating scorched earth for them to buy assets cheap (using levered debt), apply their financial machinations, fluff up the affiliate (often with government subsidies), then resell it for a multiple of their original equity investment.

That's the bipartisan vision Congress and the White House have for America.  Politicians Red and Blue love PEU.  America's traditional watchdogs seem to be protecting the PEU class, not the general public.

Japan's Shame: Looming PEU Boom

The Carlyle Group's David Rubenstein said Japan is now ready for private equity and its financial machinations which cause distortions

“I think we are going to find more opportunities in Japan than before,” said Mr. Rubenstein, who is raising a new fund to invest in the country. “I do think that Japan will see a bit of a mini boom in private equity investing as the government encourages more and more private-equity deals.” 

Japanese culture has historically been the antithesis of private equity.   This should cause great shame to Japan's leaders.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Clinton Seriously at Bilderberg

Politico quoted Vernon Jordan, on taking Bill Clinton to Bilderberg meetings in 1991:

“He left law school and came back to the South … He could [have gone to] Wall Street … [but] he came from Yale to home to do something about race.” – Vernon Jordan, longtime Clinton friend.

“I would say, that’s the next president of the United States,. They said, ‘Jordan, you been drinking? You been smoking?’ I said, mark my words.”
WaPo stated in 1998:

After all, it was Jordan who first introduced then-Gov. Clinton to world leaders at their annual Bilderberg gathering in Baden Baden Germany in 1991. Plenty of governors try to make that scene; only Clinton got taken seriously at that meeting, because Vernon Jordan said he was okay. 
Sixteen years ago Vernon Jordan symbolized insider access and corporate cronyism:

Between Jordan and his wife, 17 directorships give the couple an annual income of more than $800,000, in addition to the reported $1 million he makes at his law firm. 

President Bill Clinton helped stoke such cronyism by privatizing government functions, like security checks.  Now Western governments protect the Bilderberg crowd with virtually impenetrable security.  The Clintons should reappear before the Bilderberg Group since it likes to sniff U.S. Presidential candidates.  The corporate Bush's will likely be there, as well.  Bilderbergers love royalty, even the American cracker kind.

Update 11-20-14:  Vernon Jordan is Senior Managing Director of Lazard Freres, the investment bank sending U.S. corporations overseas for tax elimination purposes.   President Obama's latest Treasury appointment is Lazard's Antonio Weiss.

Monday, November 17, 2014

DaVita Settlement Omits Role of Two Former CMS Chiefs

DaVita reported in a SEC filing:

Under the Settlement Agreement, the Company will pay $350 million plus accrued interest from February 8, 2014, at the rate of 2.25% per annum to the United States, plus a civil forfeiture of $39 million (together, the “Settlement Payment”). In addition, the Company has agreed in principle to a settlement of certain state Medicaid claims in the amount of $11.5 million plus interest.

Under the Settlement Agreement, the United States agrees to release the Company from any civil or administrative monetary liability arising from allegations that the Company caused the submission of claims to the federal health care programs that were ineligible for reimbursement due to certain violations of the Anti-Kickback Statute in connection with certain of its dialysis center joint venture arrangements. Additionally, under the Settlement Agreement the United States and the relator agree to dismissal of the civil action filed by the relator under the qui tam provisions of the False Claims Act, and the OIG agrees, conditioned upon the Company’s full payment of the Settlement Payment, to release its permissive exclusion rights and to refrain from instituting proceedings to exclude the Company or any Company affiliates from participating in Medicare, Medicaid or other Federal health care programs.

The Settlement Agreement reflects the Company’s disagreement with the United States’ claims and contains no admissions of facts or liability on the part of the Company.

The United States has also informed the Company that it has declined to proceed with any criminal charges in connection with this matter. 

The behavior in question occurred with two ex-Medicare Chiefs sitting on DaVita's Board of Directors.  Both William L. Roper, M.D. and Nancy-Ann DeParle were appointed to the DaVita board in May 2001.   Roper served on the Board compliance committee and DeParle on the audit committee.

In March 2004 the board established two new standing committees, a public policy committee and a clinical performance committee. The public policy committee consists of Ms. DeParle and Dr. Roper, with Ms. DeParle serving as the chair. 
I believe DaVita expected these two to block for the company and its numerous violations, illuminated in the legal complaint.   After ignoring its internal compliance handbook over a decade's time the company said:

We are proud of our commitment to compliance over our 15-year history. We have worked incredibly hard to get things right and it is our belief there was no intentional wrongdoing. 
The legal complaint reads intentional wrongdoing of the repeating kind.  That I believe.   It occurred under the fiduciary oversight of two former Medicare Chiefs and neither the Department of "Just Us" nor the media shared this basic fact. 

Sunday, November 16, 2014

PEU Barons Right to Carried Interest

What if private equity underwriters gathered to document their concerns to public officials?  A similar gathering of the powerful and influential occurred in 1215 and it produced the Magna Carta:

Magna Carta was written by a group of 13th-century barons to protect their rights and property against a tyrannical king. It is concerned with many practical matters and specific grievances relevant to the feudal system under which they lived. The interests of the common man were hardly apparent in the minds of the men who brokered the agreement. 
The document stated:

Common pleas are not to follow our court but are to be held in a certain fixed place.
Today's Greed-a-Carta would say something like:

Only the common are to pay publicly stated rates of taxes.  Members of the PEU court are to have access to preferred taxation rates known as carried interest.

King John signed the Magna Carta to quell a rebellion.  PEU Robber Barons have no need to rebel, given they sponsor and control the system.  However, the common person may be at their wits end from Congress' catering to the greed and leverage boys for well over a decade.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Monumental PEU Seeks National Security Firms

Digital Journal ran the following commercial for PEU Monument Capital:

Monument Capital Group Holdings seeks investment into companies featuring four essential characteristics: 1) proven management teams; 2) positive cash flow; 3) non-lethal products and services with technologically competitive advantages; 4) capacity to meet the high demands of national security advancement worldwide.

Eliminating breaches in national and global security and improving national infrastructure security are paramount to governments and citizenry worldwide. In a rapidly changing security environment -- in which biosecurity, data security, cyber security, border security, maritime security and infrastructure security are both crucial and ever-evolving -- it is imperative that the private sector provide the highest possible level of technology the world has to offer. Monument Capital Group Holdings provides the financial backing for that technology to be developed, implemented and deployed, thereby ushering in a new set of national and global security defenses. 

Monument Capital Group Holdings provides valuable investment capital for technology companies with an international focus. Technological advancements are made around the world, and Monument Capital Group Holdings partners with companies worldwide in an effort to ensure its portfolio is at the leading-edge of those advancements. The international range and depth of investment and security technology experience possessed by Monument Capital Group Holdings' executive team and its Advisors ensures that that balance is struck with maximum benefit.

It didn't say Monument Capital's founders and advisors reads like a Carlyle Group franchise.  One has to love that Monument Capital Senior Advisor James A. Baker, III can talk about issues of national security without disclosing his financial conflicts in that arena.  It's Meet the Putz!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Conflicted Governor Rauner: Rahm's Mentor

Private equity underwriter (PEU) Bruce Rauner won the Illinois Governorship and made the news for taking political donations from executives at firms that manage state pension funds.  Doing so is against the law, but when do laws apply to the greed and leverage boys or their sponsored politicians?  Pretty much never.

PEUs exploded after the new millennium, becoming ubiquitous under Presidents Bush and Obama.  Rauner mentored ex-Congressman Rahm Emanuel, steering him into investment banking.  Emanuel went on to serve as President Obama's Chief of Staff and Chicago Mayor.

Here's what the PEU virus delivers:
Illinois Governor-elect Bruce Rauner accepted more than $140,000 worth of campaign donations from executives affiliated with firms in which Illinois pension systems have investments, according to documents reviewed by the International Business Times.
  But back to public pension money and Rauner's conflict:

Financial disclosure documents show he still retains ownership stakes in 15 GTCR entities. Though Rauner said he retired from the firm in 2012, SEC documents show he retains a partnership stake in at least one GTCR subsidiary. The two state pension systems he will now oversee as governor list GTCR as managing state money.
It gets more twisted when one considers Rauner's GTCR is also a big investor in health care, which taxpayers fund through state Medicaid programs.  Rauner has layers and layers of conflicts.

President Obama's health deformer Nancy Ann DeParle retained an unknown stake in CCMP Capital Partners, receiving several distributions from CCMP affiliates while clearing the health care table for her PEU ilk.  Someone in the White House assurred the public that all of DeParle's conflicting assets had been divested.  They weren't all declared, especially her PEU residual stakes.

Add that Rauner's GTCR is running from a $110 million verdict for nursing home negligence and things get more disturbing.  Welcome to our PEU world, where politicians Red and Blue love PEU.