In writing my book Freedomnomics, I started keeping track of the political affiliation of prominent criminals. Needless to say, Madoff is not unusual. John Fund has this over at the WSJ's Political Diary:
Bernard Madoff, who appears to be the perpetrator of the largest financial fraud ever, was a politically active player in Washington. He paid the lobbying firm of Dow Lohnes Government Strategies some $400,000 over the last decade to buttonhole regulators and Congressmen.
The Madoff clan were also large donors to political candidates. They donated over $380,000 to individual politicians and political action committees since 1993, most of it going to Democrats but with a few prominent Republicans thrown in, such as scandal-tarred Rep. Vito Fossella of Staten Island.
As late as September of this year, Mr. Madoff was still giving generously to his favorite political cause: the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee headed by New York Sen. Chuck Schumer. Mr. Madoff contributed $25,000 in September, bringing his total donations to the DSCC to $100,000 over the last three years.
Mr. Schumer, who has assiduously cultivated Wall Street for years, also benefited individually from Mr. Madoff's largesse -- taking in $39,000 from the Madoff family for his 1998 and 2004 Senate races.
"The great irony here, from a political perspective, is that Republican lack of oversight allowed a lot of well-connected Democrats -- like Madoff -- to run wild," says Joel Kotkin, an urban affairs analyst who is a fellow at the liberal New America Foundation. "Now Obama will have to deal with a series of scandals and meltdowns that have taken place within a financial community -- particularly hedge funds which may be the next locus of the financial crisis -- that have been tilting what is now considered 'left.' It was so much simpler in the old days when the GOP could be easily identified as the party of 'big greed' while most Democrats concentrated on 'little greed,' like government payoffs and sweetheart contracts."
Mr. Kotkin told Politico.com that Democrats should worry about increased scrutiny of hedge funds, especially those run by traders such as George Soros: "They are more big-time backers of the Democrats, and may be exposed in the next turning of this potboiler reality we are now experiencing. It could get a bit scary."
Labels: CharlesSchumer, Crime, Democrats