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Blackstone big lobbyist among investment firms

By Laurie Bennett

November 5, 2011 at 12:52pm

One of the indirect results of the MF Global failure will likely be a renewed, if short-lived, focus on lobbying by investment firms.

Of course lobbying comes in many shapes. In MF Global’s case, it meant a relatively low-cost account with a Washington firm, and direct communication between then-CEO Jon Corzine and regulators.

Corzine resigned Friday, four days after his company filed for bankruptcy protection. In July, he held a couple of conference calls with Commodities Futures Trading Commission Chairman Gary Gensler and other commission officials to discuss proposed restrictions on investment in foreign debt.

Corzine and Gensler are former colleagues from Goldman Sachs. When Corzine was a U.S. senator, Gensler was a Senate aide. Both raised money in 2008 for Hillary Clinton.

A co-founder of MF Global’s lobby firm, Delta Strategy, is a former chairman of the CFTC.

MF Global’s lobbying bills this year have totalled just $60,000, far less than many other investment firms.

The big spender in the sector, according to data compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics, is Blackstone Group.

The company headed by billionaire Stephen Schwarzman has spent $3.75 million this year. Like MF Global, Blackstone cites the CFTC as one of its areas of interest.

Among the battalion of lobbyists at Ogilvy Government Relations representing Blackstone is Wayne Berman, former assistant secretary of Commerce who is a bundler for Mitt Romney this year.

The Muckety map above shows some of the lobbyists working on the Blackstone account.

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