Greasing the wheels of power

Sat Jul 1, 2006



How else to explain the obsession with naked short selling?

How much clout do big Republican donors have? A lot, apparently. Allegations that the Securities and Exchange Commission bowed to pressure from one of President Bush's top Wall Street backers was just the latest in a string of events that seem to point to a new heavy-handed political approach in Washington, and elsewhere.

In the most recent case, an SEC enforcement attorney claims that he was stopped from interviewing Morgan Stanley chairman and chief executive John Mack, a big Bush fundraiser, during an insider trading investigation of Pequot Capital Management. But whether the political influence helps hedge funds - as could be the case with Pequot - or hurts them depends on who's forking over the big bucks.

Another big Republican donor throwing his weight around is Patrick Byrne, the chairman and chief executive of Overstock.com, which is suing Gradient Analytics and...

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