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.