Wednesday, December 10, 2008

GM Bailout / Conflict of Interest?

Tommy De Seno, who ALWAYS has a blog full of great entries, recently had posted an entry titled Shhhh! Don’t Wake the Justice Department Anti-Trust Guys While We Bail Out These Companies in which he questions where the Justice Department/Anti-Trust unit is on the bailout.

Further from Tommy's quality research and writing, comes my $0.02.

The Investor Information website for GM lists one Erskine Bowles as a member of the board of directors. Interesting. Ever wonder who these people are? I do... and off to Mr. Bowles Wikipedia entry to start.
In 1992, he became more involved in politics as a fundraiser for Bill Clinton's 1992 presidential campaign. President Clinton appointed Bowles to head the Small Business Administration in 1993. From October 1994 to December 1995, Bowles served as Clinton's deputy White House chief of staff, in the first-term of the Clinton Administration.

Small Business eh? That must be GM. And I'm sure the guy on the Board of Director's doesn't have some inside connections at the White House/Congress these days.
In 1997–98 he served as White House Chief of Staff and he also ran unsuccessfully for a North Carolina United States Senate seat in 2002 and 2004.

There's something in here, I just am too lazy to go find out what...
The final month of the Senate campaign saw both [of Bowles' opponents] campaigns turn strongly negative, with Burr's campaign attacking Bowles's associations with the Clinton administration, while Bowles's campaign attacked Burr on his support of trade legislation and special interest donations.

Anyone from NC happen to have those ads/sources handy?

Now here comes the more interesting one!
This Bowles guy is on the board of directors at Morgan Stanley. The same Morgan Stanley that needed a bailout from China.

Now I'm SURE that Mr. Bowles is not the sole reason that both GM and Morgan Stanley BOTH need a bailout, but surely, there is something to be said about the connections that this guy, among others, has with our elected officials. It is equally interesting that the same player seems to be involved in the failure of TWO giant, "American" companies AND their government bailouts.

I wish someone with better reporting and investigative skills than me would have a look at all of the Big 3 board members and their political connections, as well as their connections to other failing companies. Could be interesting.

In the meantime, there is certainly a conflict of interest here and if not for all of the good reasons that Tommy points out in his blog, I'd sure hope that Congress votes NO on the auto bailout and someone has a look into the dealings of these people.

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