It appears Lazard's investment banker Antonio Weiss' "help" in tax inversions is not 'unpatriotic' enough to scare President Obama off - as we suspect Weiss' bundling and donating help more than offset any ethical challenges. However, in a somewhat eye-opening financial disclosure, Bloomberg reports that Obama's nominee for undersecretary of Treasury for domestic finance, has between $54 million and $203 million in assets spread across various family trusts and his anticipated compensation in 2014 is between $5 million and $25 million. It's good to know the 'people' are well-represented once again in Washington...
A little color on the nominee... (via LittleSis)
President Obama's nomination of Antonio Weiss to serve as Under Secretary for Domestic Finance at the Treasury Department has been met with opposition from MA Senator Elizabeth Warren and the Independent Community Bankers of America trade group. In a piece for the Huffington Post Warren wrote:
One of the biggest and most public corporate inversions last summer was the deal cut by Burger King to slash its tax bill by purchasing the Canadian company Tim Hortons and then "inverting" the American company to Canadian ownership. And Weiss was right there, working on Burger King's tax deal. Weiss' work wasn't unusual for Lazard. That firm has helped put together three of the last four major corporate inversions that have been announced in the U.S.
And like those old Hair Club commercials used to say, Lazard isn't just the President of the Corporate Loopholes Club -- it's also a client. Lazard moved its own headquarters from the United States to Bermuda in 2005 to take advantage of a particularly slimy tax loophole that was closed shortly afterwards. Even the Treasury Department under the Bush administration found Lazard's practices objectionable.
A quick glance at Lazard's profile on LittleSis shows several alumni who have taken a spin through the revolving door to/from the Treasury.
Weiss is a major Obama donor and bundler, having personally given $95,400 to Obama's campaigns since 2007. That total includes Weiss and his wife, Susannah Hunnewell's attendance at Obama's $35,800-a-plate fundraiser dinner in March 2012.
* * *
*U.S. TREASURY NOMINEE WEISS DISCLOSES $54M-$203M IN ASSETS
Antonio Weiss, President Barack Obama’s pick to be a top Treasury official, reported compensation of $15.4 million over almost two years as global head of investment banking at Lazard Ltd., his financial disclosure showed.
The filing of more than 40 pages shows Weiss’s assets, which are listed in ranges, are valued at $54 million to $203 million. The documents illustrate the range of investments he has after a two-decade career with the Hamilton, Bermuda-based company.
His anticipated 2014 bonus from Lazard is listed as an asset ranging from $5 million to $25 million, the filing shows.
* * *
Government of the (rich) people, by the (rich) people, for the (rich) people...