Tom Lauria, the White & Case bankruptcy lawyer at the centre of the controversy over the Obama administration’s alleged threat against Perella Weinberg, is a major donor to the political committee charged with giving the Democrats a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate.
Lauria’s sole political donation last year was a whopping $10,000 to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Comittee, according to federal election filings. That’s far more than what might be expected of a passive political donor, marking Lauria as a major supporter of the Democrats.
The DSCC is run by New York Senator Chuck Schumer, and provided crucial support to Democratic candidates in close races. Al Franken, for instance, was a major beneficiary of the DSCC.
This might come as a surprise to some who have tried to portray Lauria’s accusations as arising from partisan animus. In 2006, Lauria donated $1000 to Hillary Clinton.
Lauria told a Detriot radio station last week that the White House had threatened to use the White House press corp to ruin the reputation of Perella Weinberg if the firm continued to oppose the administration’s plans for restructuring Chrysler. He later identified Steve Rattner, Obama’s Car Czar, as the man who made the threats.
The firm switched to supporting the administraiton but denied back-door threats were responsible for the change. Instead, it said that it was the president’s public lambasting of the opposition that caused it to switch sides. “The decision to accept and support the proposed deal was made by the Xerion Fund after reflecting carefully on the statement of the President when announcing Chrysler’s bankruptcy filing,” Perella Weinberg said.
Liberal bloggers have portrayed the story as “a right-wing attack on President Obama.” Lauria’s political leanings indicate that the story is not so much one of partisan politics as the conflicting economic agendas of some creditors to Chrysler and the Obama administration.