In the Washington Examiner, Timothy Carney gets a piece of the story on Washington lobbying firm Brownstein, Hyatt. He reports:
In a June 2007 banking committee hearing, Schumer used his chairman privileges to praise a staffer: "This is the last hearing for somebody who has served this committee and me and the people of New York and America extremely well, and that's Carmencita Whonder, my banking person, who's going on to other things."
Those "other things," included (1) lobbying Congress on behalf of hedge funds, and (2) raising money for Schumer from hedge funds.
When the K Street firm Brownstein, Hyatt, Farber, Schreck announced Whonder's hire, they quoted Schumer's on-the-record praise in the press release -- including his telling description of her as "my banking person" -- which couldn't have hurt Whonder's client recruitment.
Within days of Whonder's hire, she registered three private equity firms as clients. By the time Obama came to office, her clients included the Private Equity Council and seven private equity or hedge fund firms.
Then, in March 2009, with financial overhaul looming, the hedge funds' main lobby group, the Managed Funds Association, retained Whonder.
I don't think Mr. Carney has it exactly right that the financial regulatory overhaul would be so great for big hedge funds; managers I know are concerned about it. But he's added a useful piece of information to the ongoing story about Brownstein, Hyatt, Farber, Schreck LLP. Some serious news outlet should do a 5,000-word piece on how that firm has prospered in the Obama administration, focusing not only on the Carmencita Whonder case but on the firm's work for First Wind, which we wrote about here and here; for Apollo investment management, which is writing itself and other publicly traded private equity firms like KKR and Blackstone out of the tax hike on "carried interest," and for Merck, which fared pretty well in the health care bill.
As I put it in an earlier post: "This release from the Campaign Finance Institute reports that Norman Brownstein pledged to raise $1 million for the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver at which Mr. Obama was nominated, over and above Mr. Brownstein's law firm partner Steven Farber's efforts as a co-chairman of the convention host committee."