C.V. Starr & Co.: Greenberg’s new AIG?
By Ellen Przepasniak  •  Oct 30, 2009 at 12:13 EST

The New York Times ran a great story on Tuesday about former AIG chief Maurice Greenberg‘s latest venture, the C.V. Starr empire. Reporter Mary Williams Walsh links Greenberg’s new success to the Treasury Department capping executive pay at AIG last week: “That may hasten the exodus of A.I.G.’s talent, sending more refugees into Mr. Greenberg’s arms, since C. V. Starr is free to pay whatever it wants.”

Cornelius Vander Starr, a California-born entrepreneur, was the first American businessperson to sell insurance to the Chinese. The blanket company C.V. Starr International was established in 1919 in Shanghai and AIG would eventually grow out of it. Starr would eventually give Maurice Greenberg his first job in the insurance industry at AIG in 1962. Starr became Greenberg’s mentor and was handed the company after Starr died in 1968. After President Nixon opened up relations with China, Greenberg visited China for the first time in 1975. He would run AIG until 2005, when he resigned amid fraud allegations. Good thing he had the Starr empire to fall back on.

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Chamber of Commerce chief lambastes health bill
By Ellen Przepasniak  •  Oct 30, 2009 at 10:04 EST

Chamber of Commerce Chief Thomas Donohue strikes out against Obama’s health care plan. (WSJ)

Sen. Tom Coburn, also a licensed family physician, is one of the health bill’s most fervent opponents, leading the Republican opposition in Congress. (NYT)

Hearings on the climate change bill written by Sens. Barbara Boxer and John Kerry will begin as early as next week. (Reuters)

FDIC Chief Sheila Bair criticizes the White House’s financial regulation plan in front of the House Financial Services Committee yesterday. (NYT)

The House ethics panel, chaired by Rep. Zoe Lofgren is investigating over 30 lawmakers and aides over financial matters related to “defense lobbying and corporate influence peddling.” (WaPo)

Project: who will be the next to leave the Chamber?
By Kevin Connor  •  Oct 29, 2009 at 14:08 EST

The Chamber of Commerce has had a challenging couple of weeks. The group has been under fire from all sides for its stance on climate change and other major policy issues. Change to Win, Eliot Spitzer, and Valerie Jarrett have all gotten in on the act. Mother Jones’ investigative team has been cranking on all cylinders, recently revealing that the Chamber had exaggerated its membership by a factor of ten (300,000, not 3 million as claimed). Several companies have defected, including Apple and Nike.

Yesterday, the Chamber managed to extend the media cycle by suing the Yes Men for impersonating them. In what could be mistaken as the grand finale to the Yes Men’s stunt, the Chamber claimed that the activists are greedy businessmen, not the “merry pranksters” they presume to be.

Chamber members are feeling a lot of heat, and the ones with weaker loyalties to Chamber CEO Thomas Donohue and his agenda are probably considering going the way of Apple. But who are they? As the Chamber splinters, who will stay and who will go?

Using LittleSis data and a bit of social network analysis, I think we can make some predictions.

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House Democrats to unveil health bill
By Ellen Przepasniak  •  Oct 29, 2009 at 10:05 EST

Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Democrats will announce their own health bill today that includes a public option and taxes the wealthiest Americans to pay for it. (Reuters)

Under the new financial overhaul bill in Congress, the Federal Trade Commission would have increased authority over banks. (WSJ)

Floundering CIT Group rejects a loan from billionaire Carl Icahn and sucks more money from its bondholders. (NYT)

Eric Dinallo, once a close adviser to Eliot Spitzer, is trying to distance himself from the former attorney general as he runs for the post himself. (NYT)

New Motorola CEO Sanjay Jha is poising the company for a comeback with new products and a marketing strategy. (NYT)

Public option increases Democrats’ divide
By Ellen Przepasniak  •  Oct 28, 2009 at 09:10 EST

With the inclusion of Sen. Harry Reid‘s public plan, Democrats are now divided on the health bill and Reid may not have the 60 votes he needs to pass it through. (NYT)

Two of the health industry’s biggest lobbyists, AHIP president Karen Ignagni and PhRMA CEO Billy Tauzin have different styles on the Hill, but are still as busy as ever. (NYT)

As Pay Czar Kenneth Feinberg cut executive pay at seven bailed out firms last week, he actually increased base salaries. (Reuters)

Rep. Barney Frank revealed new legislation yesterday to create a special fund for “too big to fail” financial firms that will be paid into by assessments on those same firms. (NYT)

The Treasury Department may give a third infusion of TARP funds to lender GMAC. (Reuters)

Senate Dems hope for consensus on public option
By Ellen Przepasniak  •  Oct 27, 2009 at 09:44 EST

Sen. Harry Reid confirms he will bring a public option to the Senate floor that states can opt out of. (NYT)

Today, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee will kick off a three-day series of hearings as a precursor to a climate change bill. (Reuters)

AOL names a new board of directors to be effective after its break with Time Warner. The new board includes former FCC Chairman Michael Powell and banker William Hambrecht. (WSJ)

Former AIG Chief Maurice Greenberg is slowly culling employees for his latest venture, C.V. Starr and Company. (NYT)

UBS has hired Robert McCann, a former Merrill Lynch executive, to head its Wealth Management Americas division. (Bloomberg)

Democrats give states a choice for national health plan
By Ellen Przepasniak  •  Oct 26, 2009 at 09:34 EST

Senate Democrats are nearing a consensus on the health reform bill that may include a national health plan that states can opt out of, which Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid will likely pass back to the Congressional Budget Office today. (Reuters)

The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, led by Sen. Barbara Boxer, is beginning work on climate change legislation with a series of hearings scheduled this week. (WSJ)

Rep. Barney Frank will likely introduce legislation this week to rein in financial institutions deemed “too large to fail,” in order to prevent another banking crisis. (NYT)

Jeffry Picower, a friend and major investor of Bernie Madoff‘s Ponzi scheme, was found dead in his pool Sunday. (FT)

Daniel Tarullo is emerging from the Federal Reserve Board as a big player in banking supervision. (WSJ)

Fed drafts measure to trim executive pay
By Ellen Przepasniak  •  Oct 23, 2009 at 08:59 EST

The Fed may follow suit with Pay Czar Kenneth Feinberg‘s pay cap of bailed-out firms and regulate executive compensation across the board. (FT)

GM CEO Fritz Henderson will get a raise this year to $5.45 million. (Bloomberg)

Sen. Harry Reid is taking a risk in still pushing for a public option. (NYT)

But Republican Sen. Olympia Snowe says she won’t vote for any public option. (Bloomberg)

The House Financial Services Committee, led by Rep. Barney Frank, passed a measure to create a consumer protection agency. (NYT)

Feinberg cuts compensation at seven firms
By Ellen Przepasniak  •  Oct 22, 2009 at 09:53 EST

Pay Czar Kenneth Feinberg will slash pay for top executive at financial firms receiving bailout funds. (WSJ)

Sen. Harry Reid‘s plan to increase Medicare payments to doctors was defeated yesterday in the Senate. (NYT)

Hedge fund Galleon Group will liquidate amid founder Raj Rajaratnam‘s insider trading woes. (Bloomberg)

Though he denies leaving the job, insiders say top Obama counsel Gregory Craig will move on before the end of the year. (NYT)

Wall Street firms that have repaid their bailouts — like Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and Bank of America — are now resuming political donations ad Washington lobbying efforts. (WSJ)

Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission: a motley crew with Wall Street ties
By Ellen Przepasniak  •  Oct 21, 2009 at 12:32 EST

Back in July, the White House announced the creation of a Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission. That’s a lot of fancy words for a commission with a not-so-simple task: to get to the bottom of what caused last year’s financial crisis. The commission is charged with creating a report, which they will submit to Congress in December 2010. They met for the first time last month and like most federal commissions, it’s a motley crew. I spent yesterday updating the profiles of all 10 members. Not surprisingly, many of the commission’s members have strong Wall Street ties, both as employees of or lawyers representing the interests of the very financial institutions they’re charged with investigating.

The commission is comprised of six Democrats, appointed by the House Speaker and Senate Majority Leader, and four Republicans, appointed by the House and Senate Minority Leaders. The chair is Phil Angelides, a former candidate for governor of California and green real estate guru. It should be noted that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid used two of his three picks to nominate prominent businesspeople from his home state of Nevada: Byron Georgiou, a Las Vegas-based lawyer and Heather Murren, a former managing director at Merrill Lynch who also happens to be married to the CEO of MGM Mirage in Las Vegas. (Between the three of them, they’ve donated $20,000 to Reid since 2001.)

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