Obama uses WH press corps as threat against Chrysler investors; Update: Tapper reports, WH denies

posted at 11:15 am on May 2, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

An attorney representing several Chrysler bondholders accused the Obama administration of intimidating his clients by issuing threats of public humiliation if they opposed their brokered deal to resolve the automaker’s debts.  Speaking to WJR, Thomas Lauria said that the White House called the bondholders “vultures” for insisting on their rights as senior creditors and told them that the Obama administration would use the White House press corps to attack them in the media.  Corky Boyd has the transcript (also via HA reader Geoff A):

Lauria: Let me tell you it’s no fun standing on this side of the fence opposing the President of the United States. In fact, let me just say, people have asked me who I represent. That’s a moving target. I can tell you for sure that I represent one less investor today than I represented yesterday. One of my clients was directly threatened by the White House and in essence compelled to withdraw its opposition to the deal under the threat that the full force of the White House Press Corps would destroy its reputation if it continued to fight. That’s how hard it is to stand on this side of the fence.

Beckman: Was that Perella Weinberg?

Lauria: That was Perella Weinberg.

Glenn Reynolds wonders how the White House press corps will feel about being used as an arm of the administration to beat its opposition into submission.  My guess?  Enchanted, with just a couple of exceptions.  He also wonders whether they will show the slightest inclination to ask about these allegations.  So far, it looks like the Sounds of Silence on the WHPC dial rather than We’re Not Gonna Take It.

Bear in mind that this is one attorney operating in his client’s interest, and attorneys do like to make media waves by fighting cases on the evening news and the front page before they fight them in court.  However, the WHPC should be asking whether they’re getting played by the Obama administration — and consider the strong possibility that they’ve allowed themselves to be put in that position.

Update: Jake Tapper reports the allegations and wants an answer from the White House:

A leading bankruptcy attorney representing hedge funds and money managers told ABC News Saturday that Steve Rattner, the leader of the Obama administration’s Auto Industry Task Force, threatened one of the firms, an investment bank, that if it continued to oppose the administration’s Chrysler bankruptcy plan, the White House would use the White House press corps to destroy its reputation.

Thomas Lauria, Global Practice Head of the Financial Restructuring and Insolvency Group at White & Case, told ABC News that Rattner suggested to an official of the boutique investment bank Perella Weinberg Partners that officials of the Obama White House would embarrass the firm for opposing the Obama administration plan, which President Obama announced Thursday, and which requires creditors to accept roughly 29 cents on the dollar for an estimated $6.8 billion owed by Chrysler.

Lauria first told the story, without naming Rattner, to Frank Beckmann on Detroit’s WJR-AM radio.

The White House now denies the allegations, claiming that there’s no evidence of it (via Geoff A):

The White House said the story was false.

“The charge is completely untrue,” said White House deputy press secretary Bill Burton, “and there’s obviously no evidence to suggest that this happened in any way.”

No evidence?  What about Lauria’s personal testimony?

Meanwhile, Tommy Christopher — who actually reports from the White House — dismisses the charge:

As far as the “threat” Lauria alleges, it sounds an awful lot like someone told his client that public opinion would not likely be favorable to people who would obstruct a fair deal to save Chrysler. That’s not a threat, it is a reality. It’s no more a “threat” than John McCain’s campaign promise to make earmarkers “famous.”

Apples and oranges.  McCain threatened to make public officials “famous” for wasting taxpayer money.  The Obama administration allegedly threatened to use the WHPC to destroy the reputations of private citizens as a punishment for not relinquishing their contractual rights for having helped float Chrysler.  There’s a huge difference between the two.


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Comment pages: 1 5 6 7

Thus the terrorism continues. Are you folks who refused to vote for McAmnesty still happy?

DannoJyd on May 4, 2009 at 8:23 AM

Is that anymore treasonous than Bush quietly helping and allowing the Bin Laden family members leave the states on 911? While American airspace was closed?

True_King on May 3, 2009 at 9:51 AM

How many times does this myth have to be debunked before the troothers finally abandon it?

MarkTheGreat on May 4, 2009 at 8:25 AM

Chavez nationalized the oil companies.
Obama is in the process of nationalizing banks, and now the auto industry.

Chavez shut down newspapers that were critical of him.
There are no newspapers that are critical of Obama, but he has talked about subsidizing those that are friendly towards him.

MarkTheGreat on May 4, 2009 at 8:38 AM

The left will do for Gov Motors cars what they’ve done for windmills, using tax and reg policies to force prices of more efficient energy sources up so high that even windmills are profitable, their patent economic infeasibility notwithstanding… while shutting down gas, coal, nuclear.

petefrt on May 4, 2009 at 8:12 AM

Apparently, this is what the smart grid is for.

The problem with wind, solar and such is that they can’t be used for base loading, since you can’t rely on them to be available when needed.

With smart grid, the load side can be managed so that it matches with the supply side. If the wind stops blowing, the govt simply turns off everybodies air conditioners.

MarkTheGreat on May 4, 2009 at 8:50 AM

I can hardly wait to see what the next Presidential
race is going to look like.
With bully tactics like this, it’s sure to be a real circus.
As if the last one wasn’t.
Hopefully the media will be over their “man crush” and see
what a fraud this man and his administration really is.

elderberry on May 4, 2009 at 8:52 AM

Team Hemmer and Kelly of Fox News is all over this story now…Stuart Varney weighing in on Lauria’s allegations…

Buy Danish on May 4, 2009 at 9:10 AM

Hopefully the media will be over their “man crush” and see
what a fraud this man and his administration really is.

elderberry

I think it depends entirely on the drive for self-preservation. If they see their survival tied to Ogabe, they will stick with him. If they see him sinking under the weight of his incompetence and ineptitude, they will abandon him. Am I saying the MSM is a bunch of whores? Well, duh.

SKYFOX on May 4, 2009 at 9:33 AM

Press won’t cover it because it’s a non-story. Obama going after private citizens is just standard practice. He’s doesn’t need the power of the WH since he has always had the power of the press. It’s the first rule of Socialist Leaders, run the press, when they want to nationalize private industry and take total control overf the country’s means of production, natural resources, and wealth. It’s We The People of the Collective of the US that own all things by government mandate. They need the press to explain it to the masses. You know, the Press? Those truth tellers?

Sultry Beauty on May 4, 2009 at 9:39 AM

Boy, this site has to work harder all the time to come up with some new “outrage” of the day.If its some slimeball attorney saying something to bash Obama, its gospel. If the Obama administration defends itself, their commie liars. Do you neo-cons ever change your worn out M.O.? You tried the same tactics in 2006 and 2008 and got your ass handed to you. Do you think something that didn’t work then, will magically work now? Your base is shrinking because you have become so shrill and so negative. Do you think your hero Reagan got popular by using these tactics? NOT. When is the gop going to come to grips with the modern electorate? We’re not center-right anymore, no matter what you neocons think.Your side gets angrier and angrier, shouts louder and louder, and fewer and fewer people hear you. The American people have tuned you out, and until you lose some of the anger and hate you will remain in the political wilderness. But keep on listening to Rush, see what good shape your in following his words of “wisdom”. Stay on the attack against Obama, its working so well for you. See you at the polls in 2010.

athensboy on May 4, 2009 at 9:57 AM

Stay on the attack against Obama, its working so well for you. See you at the polls in 2010.
athensboy on May 4, 2009 at 9:57 AM

At the rate he’s going, Obama may be in Guantanemo by then.

TexasJew on May 4, 2009 at 10:03 AM

File a suit. Depose EVERYONE and EVERY email, and EVERY Blackberry.

marklmail on May 4, 2009 at 10:04 AM

AND, I think China is translating the interview with Tom Lauria right now….

I think China might re-think buying anymore American debt.

izoneguy on May 4, 2009 at 10:16 AM

AND, I think China is translating the interview with Tom Lauria right now….

I think China might re-think buying anymore American debt.

izoneguy on May 4, 2009 at 10:16 AM

I was right, I just stumbled on this:

China has ‘canceled US credit card’: lawmaker

http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5i4estRSYeFBIII9kezxnP4jgoGZQ

Now how is O going to pay for all the leftist wet dreams????

izoneguy on May 4, 2009 at 10:23 AM

The marriage of K Street and Wall Street is sounding more and more like a shot gun wedding. : ))

http://zerohedge.blogspot.com/2009/05/chrysler-non-tarp-lenders-come-out-guns.html

http://zerohedge.blogspot.com/2009/01/what-is-perella-weinbergs-compensation.html

Angry Dumbo on May 4, 2009 at 10:36 AM

MarkTheGreat on May 4, 2009 at 8:38 AM

Your comparison of Obama to Chavez is spot on. there is no denying it, but the American public refuses to see it because well….this is America…it can’t happen here. Well it is happening.

Until conservatives and even independents/moderate dems wake up and become activist against the take over of the republic and trashing of the constitution, it will continue unabated. Civil disobedience, tax revolts, and the likes are called for.

Goodeye_Closed on May 4, 2009 at 10:44 AM

Is that anymore treasonous than Bush quietly helping and allowing the Bin Laden family members leave the states on 911? While American airspace was closed?

True_King on May 3, 2009 at 9:51 AM

Didn’t happen that way. They left several days later, when the air space was open. The FBI was asked if they wanted to question any of those folks, Richard Clarke was the highest official to get involved, and even he wasn’t involved in more than a passing way.

hawksruleva on May 4, 2009 at 11:22 AM

Stay on the attack against Obama, its working so well for you. See you at the polls in 2010.
athensboy on May 4, 2009 at 9:57 AM

Isn’t the point to do what is right?

hawksruleva on May 4, 2009 at 11:24 AM

Isn’t the point to do what is right?

hawksruleva on May 4, 2009 at 11:24 AM

Is anybody on Obama’s side really concerned with doing what is right?

Badger40 on May 4, 2009 at 11:38 AM

Hmm. President Bush is the first president to propose bailing out the auto industry rather than letting it collapse and fend for itself. President Bush signed off on bailing out AIG etc. and TARP I. Where were the Hugo Chavez comparisons then? Just saying…

okonkolo on May 4, 2009 at 11:48 AM

Hmm. President Bush is the first president to propose bailing out the auto industry rather than letting it collapse and fend for itself. President Bush signed off on bailing out AIG etc. and TARP I. Where were the Hugo Chavez comparisons then? Just saying…
okonkolo on May 4, 2009

Bush went against free market principles when he started with the bailouts and “stimulus”, but we are WAYYY beyond that now. Most conservatives will admit Bush wasn’t one of us (very few left in government anymore).

Obama has taken it to the next level….state confiscation of the means of production and all financial institutions.

Exit question: Has America become, or on the way to becoming, a fascist nation? Or are we merely an authoritarian marxist state?

I dare anyone to argue that we still live in a representative democracy (republic). Sure we’re still allowed to vote but just like Venezuela, the dominate party has destroyed the opposition (media bought and paid for)and basically rules us without any input from the citizenry. When 2010 comes around we will have a choice between what has become two identical parties.

Goodeye_Closed on May 4, 2009 at 12:27 PM

Your comparison of Obama to Chavez is spot on. there is no denying it, but the American public refuses to see it because well….this is America…it can’t happen here. Well it is happening.

Until conservatives and even independents/moderate dems wake up and become activist against the take over of the republic and trashing of the constitution, it will continue unabated. Civil disobedience, tax revolts, and the likes are called for.

Goodeye_Closed on May 4, 2009 at 10:44 AM

Remember, AI and Survivor are not over yet/sarc

ProudPalinFan on May 4, 2009 at 12:35 PM

The Precedent belongs in jail. The man is a total menace and a traitor.

progressoverpeace on May 2, 2009 at 11:19 AM

Been waitin’ on those charges for a while…

ProudPalinFan on May 4, 2009 at 12:39 PM

“Who is John Galt?”

Archimedes on May 4, 2009 at 12:40 PM

athensboy on May 4, 2009 at 9:57 AM

Wow…so much fear…

ladyingray on May 4, 2009 at 1:01 PM

“Who is John Galt?”

Archimedes on May 4, 2009 at 12:40 PM

I am John Galt

izoneguy on May 4, 2009 at 1:03 PM

This stuff is never made public unless somebody is going under the bus. I think Rahm is toast. Could it be that Rahm is going to be named in the Blago indictment?

FTA:

Perella Weinberg’s founder, Joseph Perella, made Rahm Emanuel rich. In his two-and-a-half years between the Clinton White House and Congress, Emanuel made $16.2 million working at Wasserstein and Perella. I argued in a column last November that Emanuel’s value to the firm was his political connections.

http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/blogs/beltway-confidential/Emanuels-former-firm-at-heart-of-Chrysler-flap-44305987.html

Angry Dumbo on May 4, 2009 at 2:48 PM

Do we have to endure an entire presidency that gets a pat on the head for every grand theft ripoff. I say this dude’s done enough to get impeached.

Either HuffPo and MSM ignore it day by day, or they turn it around into something it’s not. And for the angry troll above, remember this SHOULD HAVE been a landslide victory, another Reagan re-do what with Bush’s unpopularity. But 60 million still said NObama. And that was against all the funny money taken in on the fake credit card donations. There is no transparency here. Can the republic survive this man?

Glenn Beck said over the weekend, it’s like watching some form of theater. It gets more and more unreal every day, what these thugs are pulling.

Vermont Neighbor on May 4, 2009 at 9:00 PM

The Obama administration has been watching too many Sopranos re-runs.

It runs whatever industry it happens to be nationalizing at any point in time like Lucky Luciano ran the docks and longshoremen in New York in the 1930s and 1940s.

Good for Justice Ginsburg.

Good for the Indiana police and firefighters’ unions.

Let the Fiat deal fall through and let Chrysler fail.

As an aside, has anyone been thinking about what government ownership of the US auto industry will do to NASCAR?

The problem with NASCAR for the last 20 years has been too MUCH money.

That problem will be soon solved.

I can see it now – minority drivers start at the front on yellow flag re-starts.

molonlabe28 on June 8, 2009 at 5:16 PM

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