Pay to Play

From the WSJ:

The wide-ranging pay-to-play probe concerns whether investment firms like Mr. Rattner's former firm, Quadrangle Group LLC, were held up for fees and favors to secure access to lucrative business from New York's $125 billion public-pension fund.

So government officials, who have all the power, demand bribes from businesses in order for those businesses to participate in a certain market, and when discovered it is the private businesses that are being investigated?

This is just so typical of government, where pay-to-play rules are in fact legislated for businesses from bars to taxicabs.  I can't do anything new in Ventura County without bringing a whole series of checks to the County planning offices -- nearly every single department must be paid off before I can do something as simple as remodel a bathroom or revamp a store.  None of this is under the table, mind you, it is entirely up front and nominally legal.


  1. Sean:

    I work in a small hedge fund myself, and have always found those types of firms despicable. Hence why we remain a small fund. And, just like the other departments you mentioned, all of the firms which provide introductions or expediting services are run by ex-officials of those departments.

    I can't seem to find the article now, but it was a reaction to the coverage of Rattner chiding a group of hedge fund managers about Wall Street not learning any humility from the crisis. Rattner, a scummy person who extracted rents from his connection to the government, who helped the government take over private enterprise. Chiding hedge fund managers, who don't get help from the government, who are looked into by the SEC when they publicly make comments that could be interpreted as advertising their services, many of whom saw the crash coming. That is chutzpah.

  2. Maria:

    Yes, and as a homeowner in CA, I can't for example remodel my bathroom without agreeing to convert my fireplace to gas at the same time. Mind you my fireplace is not in nor has anything to do with the bathroom.

  3. morganovich:

    all of new york works like this. it's like a 3rd world country.

    if you want to sell computers to the DMV, first you have to find the guy who "controls the account".

    you will give him a briefcase full of money.

    he will then introduce you to the buyer at DMV who will make the purchase (after he gets a cut of the briefcase).

    if you go into him without being introduced (and therefore without greasing his palm) he will never buy anything from you.

    the corruption is so deep that it is not actually a system with corruption but rather corruption with a system.

    the prosecutors are a part of it and doubtless in on some of the graft, so the last thing they would want to do is expose government employees and shut off the cash flow. they get the best of both worlds by going after the private company: they look tough on corruption while still keeping the dirty cash sluices open.

  4. Val:

    But don't worry! More regulation will clean that up lickety-split! Reform now!