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(47,953 posts)
Thu Feb 27, 2014, 09:39 PM Feb 2014

Get Elected, Get Your Kids Rich: Washington Is Spoiled Rotten [View all]

Joe Manchin’s daughter Heather was looking for a job. The now-senator and one-time governor of West Virginia was only a state level rep when he ran into Milan Pushkar—the head of Mylan Inc., a Fortune 500 pharmaceuticals company—at a West Virginia University basketball game. Heather was hired for an entry-level position at the company soon after. Records show Mylan benefitted from millions of dollars worth of corporate tax breaks in the state during Manchin’s gubernatorial tenure. And these days, after stints as Mylan’s director of government relations and strategic development, Heather Bresch (née Manchin) is the company’s CEO, one of Fortune’s 50 Most Powerful Women in Business. All this without even an MBA—a 2008 investigation found that Bresch did not actually earn her degree from WVU as claimed. Officials had altered her official records and covered up for it, perhaps motivated by Mylan’s lucrative relationship with the University—co-founder Pushkar (Bresch’s business world fairy godfather) donated over $20 million and had the football field named after him.

Connected children of political families catching a break is something we Americans are plenty used to—there would be no Kennedy or Bush dynasties without the public’s acceptance that some people just raise their kids up all square-jawed and rolled shirtsleeves, ready to run for office. But the nexus of private business and politics is always one that’s skated over lightly in high school civics classes. Perhaps that’s why there was so much consternation over the recent revelations that Wall Street banks had hired the children of prominent Chinese politicians with hopes of currying favor with those who wield power over business decisions in the rising economic superpower. The hiring of so-called “Chinese Princelings” has been a widespread one in the banking community; JPMorgan Chase had a “Sons and Daughters” program that separated applications of Chinese elites’ children from the wider pool and held them to less rigorous standards. Documents have been uncovered indicating that the bank directly tracked the hiring of influencers’ children to the success of business deals.

The banks’ cozy arrangements with the Chinese have been difficult for many to stomach, but others have scoffed at what they perceive as prissy outrage, framing the affair as simply the ways of the world revealed. Writing in the Wall Street Journal, Arthur Levitt, head of the SEC under President Clinton (and son of a former New York State comptroller), called the accusations, “scurrilous and hypocritical,” pointing out that wealthy and powerful Americans employ many of the same nepotistic practices on behalf of their own children. The right schools, the right friends, the right job out of college.


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