11 December 2008

Is Cerberus Pulling a Scam on the Congress With Chrysler?

I think that the most detailed analysis of this is by Dan Gerstein, who is a a political communications consultant, and was, "Communications director to Sen. Joe Lieberman (D-Conn.) and as a senior adviser on his vice presidential and presidential campaigns," so we know that he's a professional liar (that's what a political communications consultant is), and that he associates with people with no sense of decency (Lieberman), so it should be read with that caveat, but his explanation of just how Cerberus is taking the taxpayer to the cleaners is the clearest and most concise explanation. (I'll have alternate links below)

The issues:
  • Cerberus is chock full of Republican Party apparachicks, including Former Bush Secretary of the Treasury John Snow, who personally lobbied Hank Paulson to, "Salvage Cerberus’s investments in Detroit," additional politically connected lobbyiests and corporate officers include:
    • Bush I VP Dan Quayle
    • Former Sen. John Breaux (a Dem, but very much a DINO)
    • Former Bush legislative liaison David Hobbs
    • Uber-Lobbyist Billy J. Cooper
    • Arnold I. Havens, a former general counsel of the Treasury Department
    • Christopher A. Smith, former chief of staff in the Treasury
  • Conservative estimates are the Cerberus manages somewhere around $30 billion, so they have the wherewithal to float a loan to Chrysler.
  • I think that the likely truth is that they don't want to back Chrysler. They bought it from Mercedes Benz in the hopes of a quick sale to GM, classic flip and flee. Certainly the reports that they are trying for a quick sale to a Chinese auto manufacturer supports this.
  • A number of Congressmen, most notably Senator Grassley of Iowa, are demanding detailed information on the financial status of Cerberus, equity warrants being sort of like stock, but are not stock, since Chrysler is private.
  • They also have 51% ownership of GMAC, the auto lending firm spun off from GM, which means that they are getting taxpayer money twice.
On the bright side, what just passed requires Cerberus to put up equity warrants in exchange for the loans, equity warrants are kind of like stocks, but only for private firms, which have no stock.


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