Firms With Ties to Banks Can Work Both Sides of Rescue

Illustration by: Matt Mahurin

By Elana Schor

Can these contractors guide the bailout with the public interest in mind while simultaneously courting bailout-related business for themselves? It’s tough to say, but imposing greater transparency requirements is crucial, according to more than a dozen financial and legal experts interviewed for this story.

Right now, even as more of these lawyers and financiers are helping with the financial rescue, less is being disclosed about their handling of taxpayer-owned assets. Investment managers are setting values for securities that their companies may also hold privately, while law firms are approving government aid for companies they still represent in certain cases – but the public remains almost completely in the dark.

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