Private Equity Has An Obama Connection

I’d like to introduce Anjan Mukherjee, a managing director at Blackstone Group (full bio below). He’s also a member of Barack Obama’s economic transition team, as co-lead of its Commodity Future Trading Commission Review process. The other co-lead is James Johnson, a white-collar criminal defense litigator with Debevoise & Plimpton.

Mukherjee is on leave from Blackstone while he helps vet potential CFTC chief nominees. Any private equity FOB (Friend of Barack) can only be good news for the industry, although the CFTC regulates futures, which don’t have much to do to with private equity. Unless, of course, you’re a publicly traded, like Blackstone.

And Blackstone isn’t just a public investment firm. Similar to Fortress Investment Group, it’s a public partnership rather than a corporation. That means it gets to be a publicly traded company but retain its private equity tax treatment on carried interest, unlike corporations.

That private equity tax loophole could be under fire in the coming administration, considering that Obama has publicly stated his desire to tax private equity’s carried interest as regular income. We assume he’d act accordingly on the carried interest of public partnerships. All this makes Mukherjee’s influence on the person Obama appoints to head the CFTC — and his potential influence on Blackstone Group — verrrry interesting. Since Mukherjee’s influence only extends to regulation of public companies, then it seems to follow that his presence could only serve to help Blackstone and other public partnerships, while doing little for any of the other hundreds of privately held private equity firms.

Mukherjee’s connection to Obama is a bit unclear, although he went to Harvard for undergrad and B-school, around or slightly after the time Obama graduated from Harvard Law in 1991. He has also appears to have been involved in Massachusetts politics in some capacity. He donated $2300 to Obama this year, according to Huffington Post.

Mukherjee’s bio:

Anjan Mukherjee is a Managing Director in the Corporate Private Equity group and is based in New York. Since joining Blackstone in 2001, Mr. Mukherjee has been involved in Blackstone’s investments in Celanese, Freescale Semiconductor, Livewire, MegaBloks, Nycomed, and Stiefel Laboratories.
Prior to joining Blackstone, Mr. Mukherjee was with Thomas H. Lee Company where he was involved with the analysis and execution of private equity investments in a wide range of industries. Before that, Mr. Mukherjee worked in the Mergers & Acquisitions Department at Morgan Stanley & Co.
Mr. Mukherjee received a BA from Harvard University where he graduated magna cum laude as a Harry S. Truman Scholar, and an MBA from Harvard Business School. He is a Director of Stiefel Laboratories.
(Source)

The Obama Economics and International Trade Team Leads:

Reed Hundt is a member of the Obama-Biden Transition Project’s Agency Review Working Group overseeing review of the international trade and economics agencies.

Michael Warren is a member of the Obama-Biden Transition Project’s Agency Review Working Group helping to oversee review of the international trade and economics agencies.
Independent Regulatory Agencies Review Team Lead

Thomas Dohrmann is presently partner at McKinsey & Company. He started in 1996 in McKinsey’s South Africa office and moved to Washington, DC in 2000. He is co-founder of McKinsey’s global Public Sector practice. He has written extensively on government performance including co-authoring a joint McKinsey-Brookings Institution white paper entitled, “How Can American Government Meet its Productivity Challenge.” Before starting with McKinsey, Tom worked at CARE International in Togo and also spent time at USAID and the Thailand Development Research Institute. He is active in the Washington, DC community and serves on the boards of the Council for Excellence in Government and the National Foundation for Teaching Entrepreneurship.
Commodity Future Trading Commission Review Team Leads

James Johnson is a Partner in the litigation department of Debevoise & Plimpton LLP and focuses on white collar criminal defense, internal investigations, corporate compliance and corporate crisis management. Johnson previously served as Under Secretary of the Treasury for Enforcement (1998-2000), Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Enforcement (1996-1998), and as an Assistant US Attorney for the Southern District of New York (1990-1996). Johnson chairs the New Jersey Advisory Committee on Police Standards and co-chaired Governor Corzine’s Homeland Security Transition Team.

Anjan Mukherjee is a Managing Director with the Blackstone Group in the private equity area where he focuses on the evaluation and execution of a number of investments in a wide range of industries. Prior to joining Blackstone, Mukherjee was with the Thomas H. Lee Company and Morgan Stanley & Co. He also previously worked at the Department of Education (in the Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education) as well as the Brookings Institution.
Federal Accounting Standards Advisory Board, Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council, and National Credit Union Administration Review Team Lead

Gregory L. Rosston is a lecturer in economics and public policy at Stanford University, where he also is the Deputy Director of the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research and the Public Policy program. In addition, Rosston currently serves as an advisory board member for Sustainable Conservation and the Nepal Youth Opportunity Fund. He previously served as Deputy Chief Economist at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation Review Team Lead

Sylvia Mathews Burwell is President of the Global Development Program at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Before joining the foundation in 2001, Burwell served in the Clinton administration as Deputy Director of the Office of Management and Budget, Assistant to the President, Deputy Chief of Staff, and Chief of Staff to former Treasury Secretary Robert E. Rubin.
Federal Trade Commission Review Team Leads

Susan Ness is a communications policy consultant. From 1994 to 2001, she served as a Commissioner on the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), focusing on new technologies, the E-Rate, and international matters. She was founding President/CEO of GreenStone Media, which produced female-targeted talk programming for radio, internet, and other platforms. She was Distinguished Visiting Professor at the Annenberg School (University of Pennsylvania), Vice President of a national bank financing communications companies, and Assistant Counsel of the House Banking Committee.

Phil Weiser is a professor of law at the University of Colorado where he writes and teaches in the areas of antitrust policy, innovation policy, and internet policy. Weiser previously served as Senior Counsel to the Assistant Attorney General of the Department of Justice Antitrust Division, as a law clerk to United States Supreme Court Justices Byron R. White and Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and as a law clerk to United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit Judge David Ebel.
International Trade Commission Review Team Lead

Peter M. Shane is the Jacob E. Davis and Jacob E. Davis II Chair in Law at the Ohio State University’s Moritz College of Law. His research focuses on separation of powers law, and on the Internet and the future of democracy. A graduate of Harvard College and Yale Law School, he clerked for the Hon. Alvin B. Rubin of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. Peter served as an attorney-adviser in the U.S. Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel and in the Office of Management and Budget, before entering full-time teaching in 1981.
Small Business Administration Review Team Leads

Fred P. Hochberg is a member of the Board of Commissioners of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and former Dean of Milano at The New School for Management and Urban Policy. From 1998 through 2001, he served as deputy and later acting administrator of the Small Business Administration (SBA). Prior to working at the SBA, he was President and COO of the Lillian Vernon Corporation.

Ginger Lew is currently CEO of the Czech Slovak American Enterprise Fund. She is also an advisor with Amplifier Venture Partners. Lew previously served as Deputy Administrator and COO of the Small Business Administration (SBA), as the General Counsel at the Department of Commerce and as the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for East Asia under the Carter Administration. Lew has been a member of the NASDAQ Listing Council since 1999. In 2006 she founded the Association of Asian American Investment Managers, the first national trade association for Asian American investment professionals.
United States Securities and Exchange Commission Review Team Leads

Gary Gensler served as Treasury Under Secretary for Domestic Finance after being Assistant Secretary for Financial Markets from 1997 to 2001. He subsequently acted as Senior Advisor to Senator Paul Sarbanes, on the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. Prior to this, he spent 18 years at Goldman Sachs, as a partner for nine years and later as co-head of finance.

Mozelle W. Thompson is CEO of Thompson Strategic Consulting which provides legal, policy and business advice to companies like Facebook, Inc., SeatSmart.com and others. From December 1997 until August 2004, he served as a Commissioner on the Federal Trade Commission. While at the FTC, Commissioner Thompson developed leadership roles in the areas of international consumer protection, high technology competition and convergence issues, online privacy and intellectual property. He also served as Chairman of the OECD Committee on Consumer Policy, and President of ICPEN (the International Consumer Protection Enforcement Network). Before the FTC, Thompson served as Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Government Financial Policy at Treasury. He has also taught at Fordham, Stanford and Princeton Universities.
International Lending Agencies Review Team Lead

Peter Blair Henry is the Konosuke Matsushita Professor of International Economics at the Stanford University Graduate School of Business and Senior Fellow at the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research. He is also a research associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research, Nonresident Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution, and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Gary Epstein is presently a Senior Partner in the Washington office of Latham & Watkins LLP. He is the Global Chair of the Firm’s Communications Practice Group and leads the firm’s Telecommunications Practice. He previously served as Chief of the Common Carrier Bureau of the Federal Communications Commission from 1981 to 1983. He has served on numerous communications boards and advisory commissions. He is also Board Chair of DC Appleseed, a nonprofit organization that seeks to solve important public policy issues facing the Washington, D.C. area.
World Bank Review Team Lead

Lisa D. Cook is an Assistant Professor of Economics at Michigan State University. She has conducted research on banking crises in Russia, economic growth, and intellectual property. She has also advised the governments of Rwanda and Nigeria. She previously worked at the World Bank, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, and as Senior Advisor in Finance and Development at the Treasury Department where she focused on international financial crises and debt relief.
Export/Import-OPIC Review Team Leads

Nelson Cunningham is Managing Partner of McLarty Associates, the international strategic advisory firm he co-founded with former Clinton Chief of Staff Thomas F. “Mack” McLarty III. Cunningham was Special Advisor to President Clinton for Western Hemisphere Affairs. He previously served as a lawyer at the White House and on the Senate Judiciary Committee under Chairman Joseph R. Biden, and before that was a federal prosecutor in New York under Rudolph Giuliani specializing in international financial prosecutions. He serves on the boards of the Institute of the Americas, the Business Council for International Understanding and the American Security Project, and is a member of the Yale University President’s Council on International Activities, the Council of Americas, and the Council on Foreign Relations.
Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) Review Team Lead

Alan H. Fleischmann is managing director of ImagineNations™ Group, an organization focused on global youth employment and youth entrepreneurship. Previously, he served as Staff Director of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs and its Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere. He was also the Chief of Staff to Maryland Lt. Governor Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, the Vice President of LATCORP, Inc., and Senior Associate of the Chase Manhattan Private Bank (JP Morgan Chase).