Friday, February 21, 2014

Crony Philanthropy (or, Massaging The Hand That Feeds You)

By, Chris Rossini

Several times in the past, Robert Wenzel has written about the ultimate insider-firm called The Carlyle Group. For example, on how the firm is routinely one of the first receivers of Bernanke Bucks:
There's nothing like an insider who operates on leveraged deals, he will always give high marks to Fed chairman Ben Bernanke for pumping out more money. The money being pumped out ends up in the banking system, where it is then loaned out, often as part of leveraged financial deals.

One of the largest borrowers of this cheap Bernanke created money is Carlyle Group, which was co-founded by David Rubenstein. [...]
Rubenstein said, “I think the Fed has done an extraordinary job for the United States and is really the hero of the last four years…The Fed has been a real hero to the U.S. economy and the global economy…I suspect they will keep interest rates pretty low for a while.”
And how Carlyle likes to keep the ducks in line. Here they are making an advance payment to Hillary Duck:
Hillary Clinton is set to be the featured attraction at the private equity firm The Carlyle Group’s investor conference next month...

The moderator will be the group’s founder, David Rubenstein, a Democrat, who also managed to show up at the White House for a 60th wedding anniversary party for George H.W. and Barbara Bush, and gave the toast!

Clinton’s speaking fee is roughly $200,000, according to multiple reports, says Politico.
Well today, the New York Times is running a piece on Rubenstein's philanthropic activities. Let's just say, he's definitely "giving back" to the State:
The expansive reach of David M. Rubenstein into the public life of the nation’s capital can be seen during a brief excursion from his downtown office at the Carlyle Group, the private equity firm that he co-founded and that made him a billionaire.

Begin across the street at the National Archives, the site of the new gallery, named after him, where Magna Carta, which he bought in 2007 for $23 million, is on permanent loan. Then head to the Library of Congress, and see the first map of the United States, also his, in the Great Hall.

Make your way to the earthquake-damaged Washington Monument, which will reopen this spring after a $15 million repair, half paid for by Mr. Rubenstein, then zip to the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, where his $75 million has bought, among other things, a new pipe organ. End up at the National Zoo, where baby Bao Bao frolics in the panda habitat Mr. Rubenstein endowed, part of a $7 million Smithsonian gift.

Over the years, Mr. Rubenstein, who has a fortune estimated at $3 billion, has made gifts to the usual array of universities, hospitals and cultural organizations beloved by wealthy donors. But he stands nearly alone in shoring up institutions generally under the purview of the federal government. About $200 million of the $300 million he has given away has been what he calls “patriotic giving.”
And that's how it's done.

Chris Rossini is on TwitterFacebook & Google+


  1. I wonder what % of that $3B is straight tax dollars that wouldn't have been spent given anything that resembles a free market.

  2. Absolutely massaging the hand or teat that feeds the Rubenstein's of the world...