Dems Head to N.Y. for Wall St. Dough

By Manu Raju
|  Thursday, Apr 29, 2010  |  Updated 5:18 PM EDT
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Nice Timing: Gillibrand Heads to Midtown for Wall Street Dough

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NEW YORK - APRIL 15: Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) attends Archbishop Timothy Dolan's first service as Archbishop during his Mass of Installation at St. Patrick's Cathedral April 15, 2009 in New York City. Dolan, 59, the former Milwaukee archbishop, is taking over the nation's second-largest diocese from Cardinal Edward Egan who is retiring as New York's archbishop after nine years. He becomes the 13th Pastor of the Archdiocese of New York. (Photo by Robert Sabo-Pool/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Kirsten Gillibrand

While Democrats push Wall Street regulations on the Senate floor, Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) will head to Manhattan Monday for a fundraiser with deep-pocketed donors who have ties to the financial industry.

According to an invitation obtained by POLITICO, the fundraiser is billed as a “political discussion” for those who want to contribute up to $10,000 for Gillibrand’s reelection campaign and spend Monday evening with the two Democratic senators.

The event will be held at the Park Avenue home of Ralph Schlosstein, a former Carter administration official who is the CEO of the investment firm Evercore and used to work at Lehman Bros. Holdings. Schlosstein’s wife Jane Hartley, the event co-host, is seen as a leading New York Democratic donor, has given more than $300,000 to Democratic candidates in recent years, but is not employed in the financial industry.

Also attending the event is Roger Altman, a former Clinton administration Treasury Department official and founder of Evercore; Leo Hindery, managing partner of a New York-based private equity fund; David Topper, vice chairman of JPMorgan’s investment banking outfit; Wiltold Balaban, an attorney who has represented Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan and Bank of America; hedge fund investor James Torrey and Richard Beattie, a New York-based attorney who participated in the $58 billion acquisition of Bank One Corp. by JPMorgan. Altman co-hosted a fundraiser for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) Sunday night in New York. 

This type of event is not unusual — both parties raise tons of money from Wall Street at exclusive Manhattan fundraising events. But the timing on this particular party may raise eyebrows because Democrats have been bashing Wall Street throughout the financial reform debate.

And for weeks, Democrats have pounded Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) for meeting with Wall Street executives and hedge fund managers in the run-up to the floor debate over the financial reform bill. The GOP almost certainly will seize on the Monday fundraiser — which was first reported by The Wall Street Journal Thursday — to paint the Democrats as being on the side of Wall Street.

But Democratic aides say that this characterization is unfair given the two senators’ support for a bill that most in the financial industry oppose.

Matt Canter, a Gillibrand spokesman, said Monday’s fundraiser is “not an industry event.”

Sen. Gillibrand’s support for strong financial reform proves there is zero conflict,” Canter said. “It is being hosted by some of the leading Democratic donors in New York City, many of whom have supported Sen. Gillibrand since her first run for Congress.”

Bryan DeAngelis, a Dodd spokesman, said his boss has seen the “great work” Gillibrand has done for New York since she was appointed to the seat last year by Gov. David Paterson.

“He has worked closely with her on several issues, including during the health care debate, when she led the fight to protect women’s rights,” DeAngelis said. “Dodd’s Wall Street reform bill, which Sen. Gillibrand strongly supports, is going to bring tough new rules and accountability to Wall Street.”

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