Tag Archive: Tepper

Steve Sweeney Knows Who Butters His Bread

You can say whatever you want about Steve Sweeney, but one thing is for sure: he ain’t stupid.

State Sen. Teresa Ruiz (D-Essex), who started her political career as a hand-picked representative of the Essex County political machine built by Steve Adubato, established herself as a player in Trenton by shepherding a strong tenure reform across the line.

But it wasn’t just her search for consensus that got it done. In the view of Senate President Steve Sweeney, who knows a thing or two about the backroom push-and-pull, it wouldn’t have happened without David Tepper, the billionaire hedge fund manager and education reform advocate who pledged to protect legislators willing to defy the New Jersey Education Association.

“David was an enormous help,” Sweeney (D-Gloucester) told The Auditor. “He was an equalizer. The way I look at it, there can be great benefits when you have someone with resources trying to do the right thing for the right reasons.” [emphasis mine]

Now that’s how you treat a guy who has promised to throw tons of money around! Doesn’t matter that the NJEA signed off on the Ruiz bill. Doesn’t matter that, on substance, the union got just about everything it wanted. Doesn’t mater that the final bill is a far cry from what Tepper’s group, B4K, has been pushing.

What does matter is that Tepper and B4K are willing to throw plenty of money at the South Jersey Democratic machine. Last election cycle, they backed Democrats Troy Singleton and Gabby Mosquera for the Legislature, both allied with Sweeney and George Norcross. Undoubtedly, Sweeney is looking forward to more money flowing from the Tepper tap.

I’ve certainly been critical of B4K, but I can also see the practical politics of Sweeney’s stroking of Tepper; he is a potential source of campaign cash few could afford to ignore. I only hope Sweeney added the Obama campaign into his calculus. David Tepper is a big supporter of Mitt Romney. I can’t imagine the national Democrats are too pleased to see the highest-ranking elected Democrat in New Jersey showering praise on one of the Mittster’s bigger fundraisers.

And Tepper has supported other Republicans in statewide elections. Whether he becomes a consistent source of funds for the Norcross/Sweeney axis is an open question. But even I have to admit, it’s worth a bit of praise to keep that door open.

Does this Look Like a Democrat To You?

Back in October, Tom Moran at the Star-Ledger couldn’t understand the crazy Democrats and their resistance to the corporate reform agenda in education:

It’s fascinating to see the nervous response of establishment Democrats to the arrival of David Tepper on the political scene in New Jersey.

Tepper is a hedge fund manager from Livingston worth about $5 billion, and he’s promising to throw a good chunk of that into a political fight over school reform with the New Jersey Education Association, the teachers union that has long been the colossus of Trenton.

Sen. Richard Codey (D-Essex), the former governor, is hostile, saying he doesn’t believe rich guys should be able to buy influence, a line many Democrats echo.

Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver (D-Essex) is suspicious, suggesting that Tepper and his partner in this effort, Alan Fournier, are seeking to impose “social engineering” on unsuspecting black and Latino students.

And several Democrats whisper the line pushed by the operatives of the New Jersey Education Association, who say this is a plot by Tepper and Fournier to enrich themselves by turning public schools over to private investors such as themselves.

For our part, we look forward to hearing the bombs explode when these two launch their offensive, and we hope they win. If they are able to break the grip of the NJEA, children in our poor cities will be much better off.

[…]

Tepper is a Democrat and Fournier is a Republican. The agenda they are pushing encompasses all the common ground between President Obama and Gov. Chris Christie: tenure reform, merit pay, charters schools, a relentless focus on student achievement and more power for parents. Tepper favors only a small pilot program to experiment with vouchers.

Got that? “Tepper is a Democrat.” Just wondering, Tom: is this how Democrats behave?

Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney came to the Garden State today to raise money for one of his most loyal New Jersey supporters – and fill his own campaign coffers.

The former Massachusetts governor headlined a $5,000 per plate fundraiser at the Bernardsville home of Ed and Nancy Deutsch, raising about $400,000 for the fledgling campaign of U.S. Senate candidate Joseph Kyrillos, a state senator from Monmouth County and longtime friend of Gov. Chris Christie. About 80 people attended the fundraiser in the wealthy neighborhood.

After that, Romney left to attend another private fundraiser in Short Hills, hosted by hedge fund billionaire David Tepper and Clifford Sobel, a former ambassador to Brazil and The Netherlands. Both fundraisers were closed to the press.

Some Democrat. Even if Tepper hates Corzine, he doesn’t have to throw behind Romney.

Get it straight, Tom: the corporate reform movement is a Republican movement with centrist Democrats in tow. Real Dems oppose this anti-union, anti-teacher agenda.

Ledger Logic – Billionaire Boys Club Edition

Tom Moran over at the Star-Ledger has outdone himself this time: an opinion piece under his own byline combined with an editorial he presumably wrote make for a one-two punch that knock fairness and logic on their asses.

Let’s start with Moran’s long, wet kiss to David Tepper, hedge fund multi-billionaire. After the predictable Horatio Alger claptrap about Tepper’s hardscrabble young life in Pittsburgh, Moran sees fit to devote one small paragraph to how this man made his money:

His style is to take huge risks. His firm, Appaloosa Management, made a killing after the financial crash by investing billions in failed banks. After the government bailouts, the value of the shares skyrocketed and his firm made $7.5 billion.

That’s not the whole story, as we have reported here at Blue Jersey (h/t DS Wright). Tepper took a position on bank stocks knowing the government was going to pay more than market value for them. By his own admission, his wealth came from a direct transfer of money from the federal government to his firm involving little risk at all.

Legal? You bet. Unethical? Well, probably not according to today’s standards on Wall Street. Devoid of any social value? I’d say yes, absolutely. This is the sort of deal the Occupy Wall Street movement is all about. This is the hottest topic in our national discourse at the moment.