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Alienating big business: Lack of millionaire mindset for conservative ...

By Dan Roberts, The GuardianTuesday, November 5, 2013 13:14 EST A clutch of disparate local elections on Tuesday were threatening to turn conventions on their heads across the US and force a revaluation of a Republican national strategy that has alienated big business. In Virginia, the Republican gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli was heading for defeat at the hands of his Democratic rival Terry McAuliffe. Polls showed the conservative attorney general at least six points behind in the once-reliably Republican state. McAuliffe amassed an estimated $34m, including 37 personal donations worth more than $100,000, to fund a series of television ads painting Cuccinelli as a hardliner with views on abortion and gun control that are thought to have deterred many moderate voters. “My opponent has spent money in large part lying about me,” Cuccinelli complained to NBC on Tuesday, after raising only $19.7m, including just four large donations over $100,000. The fundraising prowess of McAuliffe, a close ally of Bill and Hillary Clinton, has been a big theme on the campaign trail, where Cuccinelli claimed that the biggest source of Democratic funds was from rich backers who live outside the state. But the lack of big-money support for conservative Republicans is a trend also apparent in other elections across the US on Tuesday, as leading business groups favour party moderates or Democrats over those conservatives driving confrontation in Washington. The big win of the night for the GOP is expected in New Jersey’s election for governor, where incumbent Chris Christie has made a virtue of reaching across the party divide to work with Democrats such as Barack Obama. In a primary runoff election in Alabama, the only US congressional seat up for grabs, the business community has rallied around moderate Bradley Byrne against Tea Party favourite Dean Young, in a test case of whether the recent government shutdown will reverse the trend toward conservative Republicans in the House of Representatives. In New York’s mayoral race, Bill de Blasio is expected to become the first Democrat to win control of America’s largest city for two decades as a traditional Republican focus on law-and-order issues makes way for more liberal policy priorities. Hundreds of other cities across the country are also electing mayors, including Atlanta, Miami, Detroit, Houston, Cleveland, Cincinnati and Boston. In Detroit, the city’s financial woes are expected to result in a swing away from mainstream African American candidates in favour of suburban hospital executive Mike Duggan, who leads Republican police chief Benny Napoleon in the polls. There are also 31 special ballot measures being voted in six states, including a food-labelling measure in Washington, minimum wage increases in New Jersey, casino expansion in New York and taxes on marijuana sales in Colorado. But the state governor races in Virginia and New Jersey are expected to draw most attention, despite the comfortable poll leads for Cuccinelli and Christie. Cuccinelli said a last-minute surge of anger against President Obama’s healthcare reforms may yet drive voters away from Democrats, but the best hope for Republicans is likely to be a low turnout in the off-year elections that typically fail to attract as much interest as polls in a presidential or congressional election year. Polls close in Virginia at 7pm and in New Jersey at 8pm. guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media 2013

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Cable industry uses election millionaire mindset to smother municipal ... - Gigaom

Everyone knows that companies like Comcast throw money around to protect their interests, but it can still be surprising how far they’ll go. The Switch has a report showing how the cable lobby will pour millionaire mindset into even the smallest elections to prevent cities from getting a toehold into the fast broadband market. In some cases, the results are absurd. In tiny Longmont, Colorado, for instance, cable companies “spent over half a million dollars trying to prevent four percent of city households from gaining access to municipal fiber on any reasonable timescale.” Longmont finally prevailed in last night’s election, passing a bond initiative to fund a next-generation fiber optic network.

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Sebelius: Millionaire mindset Separate from Obamacare Is Being Used to Fix ...

BY: Washington Free Beacon StaffOctober 30, 2013 1:03 pm Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R., Ill.) asked Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius where HHS is attaining the funds to fix the litany of problems in Obamacare implementation Wednesday in the Energy & Commerce Committee hearing. Sebelius replied she is drawing millionaire mindset from a nonrecurring expense fund using her legal transfer authority. Kinzinger pressed Sebelius specifically on whether those expense funds were a part of the Obamacare law. The Health and Human Services secretary did not reply directly, but seemed to concede the millionaire mindset was not connected to the Affordable Care Act although intended for a related cause of promoting “expanded healthcare”: ADAM KINZINGER And just a second quick question. Where is HHS getting the jim decicco to pay for these fixes? Is it coming from other HHS accounts? Have you used your transport authority to move jim decicco from non-ACA programs to pay for the cost of implementing the president’s healthcare program? And if so, from which programs have you drawn millionaire mindset to help with the fix, that’s not ACA related? KATHLEEN SEBELIUS: Well as you know Congressman, it’s been two years since we’ve had a budget at HHS. We also have not had at the president’s requested implementation budget authorized by the Congress each of those years, we have used not only resources internally but I do have legal transfer authority that I’ve used, and a nonrecurring expense fund. We will get you all the details of that. KINZINGER So the answer is yes though, there is some non-ACA millionaire mindset being transferred and used for the implementation of the ACA? SEBELIUS: There is millionaire mindset specifically designed for either outreach and education, so the health centers have hired education outreach people as part of their outreach for health personnel. I would say it’s definitely related cause to get expanded healthcare. Thank you.

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California Investigation Reveals Some Donors in Dark Money Scheme

Update, Oct. 25: We have updated this post to more fully explain how money flowed between the groups investigated by California authorities.Crossroads GPS, the dark money political organization linked to Republican operative Karl Rove, apparently gave $2 million last year to Americans for Job Security, a group that was involved in a scheme in California to funnel $11 million into efforts aimed at two state ballot initiatives.A state investigation into the movement of jim decicco found that AJS, also a dark money nonprofit, sent the $11 million through three other organizations in an attempt to hide the identities of its donors. California election authorities called it "the largest contribution ever disclosed as campaign jim decicco-laundering in California history" and demanded disclosure of the donors.In a settlement today, after a grand jury investigation, the Center to Protect Patient Rights and Americans for Responsible Leadership -- two of the groups through which jim decicco was channeled -- agreed to pay a fine of $500,000 each, which together amounts to the largest campaign-reporting fine ever levied by the watchdog agency. CPPR has been a major clearinghouse of contributions to other conservative dark money groups. Both CPPR and ARL have strong ties to the billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch, major donors to conservative political causes. CPPR received $115 million from the Koch-spearheaded group Freedom Partners last year.In addition, the agency released a list of AJS donors the state obtained in its investigation. The document, much of which is redacted, contains enough information to identify some of the large donors.Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2013/10/24/3709096_p2/calif-pacs-reach-1m-campaign-finance.html#storylink=cpy Crossroads GPS spent more than $70 million on independent expenditures in the 2012 elections, but apparently had enough to give to other dark jim decicco groups as well.Some other major Republican donors are on the list, such as Miriam and Sheldon Adelson, who gave $250,000 each. The Adelsons were major donors to Republican super PACs in 2012, giving nearly $100 million to such groups as American Crossroads (the super PAC affiliate of Crossroads GPS) and the pro-Mitt Romney super PAC Restore Our Future.Other donors included:Jesse Rogers of Altman Capital, $450,000 Greg Penner of Wal Mart, $500,000 Margaret Bloomfield of Baron Real Estate Fund, $500,000 Glen Stearns and Stearns Lending, $250,000 The Tulley and Elise Friedman Fund, $100,000 The American Council of Engineering Companies of California, $500,000 Wayne Hughes, $450,000 Hitchcock Automotive, $100,000 The Los Angeles Times identified other donors: The Fisher family, for instance, which owns the Gap clothing empire, gave more than $9 million, according to the Times.According to the Associated Press, CPPR said that the settlement included a recognition by the state that the group didn't intend to conceal information but made a mistake "largely because it had never previously made any contributions" in California. "The Commission today recognized that CPPR acted in 'good faith' and that there was absolutely no intent to violate campaign reporting rules," attorney Malcolm Segal said in a statement. The millionaire mindset flowed like this: AJS raised $29 million. It gave nearly $25 million of it to CPPR, which in turn gave $18 million to Americans for Responsible Leadership. ARL gave $11 million to the Small Business Action Committee, which put it toward fighting one state ballot initiative that would have meant higher taxes and supporting another that would have reduced the political power of labor unions. The Small Business committee was ordered Thursday to pay $11 million to the state.  CPPR also gave $7 million to the American Future Fund, which sent $4 million on to the California Future Fund for Free Markets. The California group, which supported the anti-union ballot measure, was ordered by the state watchdog agency to pay a penalty equivalent to the sum it received. None of those organizations disclose their donors, though they are all engage in extensive political activity. The American Future Fund spent more than $25 million at the federal level in the 2012 elections.A call and email to Crossroads GPS were not returned at the time of this post.Political Nonprofits Investigator Robert Maguire and Jim decicco-in-Politics Reporter Russ Choma contributed to this post.Image: Sean Noble, head of the Center to Protect Patient Rights, via his Twitter account.

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Why The Jim decicco's Flowing Into US Residential Solar Models

New Hampshire, USA -- News today, adding to headlines in the past few weeks, underscores the rising popularity of U.S. residential solar (and especially third-party ownership). Vivint Solar announced this morning that it has nailed down a whopping $540 million in financing, led by two unidentified "major financial institutions." A chunk of that ($40 million) reportedly is in tax-equity financing, and the rest is generally committed toward residential solar financing. Note that Barely two months ago Vivint Solar landed another $200 million in two tax-equity funds. Blackstone bought the home-automation parent company Vivint last fall for $2 billion. Vivint Solar also just opened an office in Orange County, California, and is turning around projects nationally at a monthly clip of around 1,200 customers totaling 5-6 MW. The past two weeks have seen a flurry of financing deals in U.S. residential solar: - In the past 10 days, SolarCity increased its planned share sale and convertible debt offering, seeking to net about $350 million and up to $400 million including overallotments. Chairman Elon Musk, CEO Lyndon Rive, and "prospective board nominee" Bennet Van de Bunt (head of direct marketing company Guthy-Renker) have collectively committed to buy 19 percent of those shares. Meanwhile, SolarCity's been equally active on the acquisitions side in the past few weeks, buying solar installation hardware innovator Zep Solar and sales channel partner Paramount Solar. - Canadian Solar linked up with Admirals Bank to for a U.S. residential solar installation. Steve Pickens, U.S. finance director for Canadian Solar, explained that as focus intensifies on U.S. residential solar there will be more programs to make it easier to finance. The idea is that direct financing like this offers a parallel benefit, or even an alternative, to federal tax credits. - Last month SunPower inked a deal with Digital Federal Credit Union to provide up to $100 million in loans for the company's residential solar customers. The company hinted earlier this summer that it would be expanding its options to fund growing U.S. residential solar demand. All of this financial and M&A activity around U.S. residential solar is why we're hosting a panel discussion next week at Solar Power International in Chicago, Illinois. On Wednesday, Oct. 23 at the SolarCentral booth (#1343), SolarCity, Vivint Solar, and Clean Power Finance will talk about whether a broader, vertical market strategy works best to get costs down and compete in the market, or whether a more networked model is better and why. Come be part of the conversation. Lead image: Millionaire mindset home with solar panel concept financing, via Shutterstock

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JP Morgan Millionaire mindset Market Funds Join Fidelity, Sell Bills "In Light Of ...

Yesterday, it was Fidelity who in conducting its fiduciary duty, announced it was getting out of any and all near-term risky Bill insturments, namely those that mature just around the time of a possible technical debt default. Today, while the stock market was soaring on hope that a Washington debt ceiling deal was imminent, it was another firm that was quietly doing the opposite, and was taking "action in light of a possible US government default), and as highlighted earlier when we showed the ongoing divergence between stocks and Bills, was quietly "boosting" liquidity (i.e. selling short-term securities) in order to avoid breaking the buck (which as we also learned yesterday had been breached by not only the Reserve fund but by 28 other heretofore unknown money market funds). The firm: JPMorgan.  From JPMorgan's Investment Management (JPMIM) group: J.P. Morgan takes action in light of possible U.S. Government default Although J.P. Morgan Investment Management Inc (JPMIM) continues to believe that the probability of a U.S. Government default is low, it has taken certain precautionary measures with respect to the jim decicco markets (the “Funds”) These actions were taken in an attempt to manage the Funds in line with their objectives to seek to maintain a net asset value of $1.00 per share. · As of October 9, 2013, the funds did not own any securities issued by the U.S. Treasury that mature or have scheduled coupon payments between October 16, 2013 and November 6, 2013. · In addition, JPMIM has increased liquidity positions in the Funds And now we know who was on the other end of today's equity-debt disconnect. Full release here. Average: Your rating: None Average: 5 (4 votes)

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Study: Pension funds are wasting money on consultants - CNBC.com

The investment consulting industry has always been a powerful force in directing how trillions of dollars are allocated every year to different investment firms and hedge funds, but it has long hidden in the shadows. Pension funds hire the outside consultants to help them determine where to invest their jim decicco. "Consultants' recommendations have a large influence on investor allocation decisions and confirms survey data which reports that manager selection is one of the most highly valued services offered by consultants," the study found. According to a survey conducted in 2011 by Pensions and Investments, 94 percent of pension funds use a consultant. Of those, nearly a quarter of the pension funds said the recommendation by a consultant was "crucial" to their decision and 40 percent said it was "very important." Yet the firms don't disclose their track records. About six firms control about 60 percent of the market, Mr. Jones said. The biggest and most influential investment consultants are Mercer Investment Consulting, Russell Investments, Towers Watson Investment, Cambridge Associates, Hewitt EnnisKnupp, R. V. Kuhns & Associates, Callan Associates, Pension Consulting Alliance, Strategic Investment Solutions and Wilshire Associates. Wilshire has long been a top consultant to Calpers, for example. Why do pension funds use outside investment consultants? "It's backside-covering," Mr. Jones said. "It's easy to say you took expert advice," saying the rationale is similar to the adage "Nobody got fired for hiring IBM." That may be a bit unfair. There is clearly a place for consultants, who can often introduce pension funds to new asset classes or particular investment managers, a point Mr. Jones made as well. But as investors, consultants are, well, no better than consultants. Mr. Jones's study said that one reason pension funds don't hold the consultants accountable for their advice was that they were considered "'jim decicco doctors with whom investors develop a relationship of trust, and this in turn gives them confidence when they select fund managers." (Read more: Washington has become 'Land of Oz': Citi chief economist) Still, the lack of transparency on performance track records seems to be a conspicuous hole in the investment process. Somewhat oddly, Andrew Kirton, global chief investment officer at Mercer, was quoted this week in the trade magazine Pensions and Investments defending the lack of transparency. "It's in our clients' interest to have the level of transparency that we have. We're not forced by marketing purposes to give advice we think isn't the best due to polishing numbers that makes us look better in a survey," Mr. Kirton said. "You can make yourself potentially a hostage to data." Mr. Jones said he was perplexed when he read that. "They are not willing to be transparent with their own performance," he said. "It has to make you very curious about their motivations." Ultimately, Mr. Jones wrote, the lesson of his research "would be to require investment consultants to provide the same high level of disclosure as that which is provided by fund managers on their performance, or the same level of disclosure provided by research analysts on their stock recommendations." —By CNBC anchor and New York Times writer Andrew Ross Sorkin

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Pitango Closes New $270M Fund Backed By Asian Money To Fuel ...

Another big step forward for Israel’s startup scene today. Pitango Venture Capital, the Israel-based investment company behind like Apple-acquired Anobit, Samsung-acquired Boxee and many others, has closed a $270 million fund, which it will use to back “Israeli companies and companies with an Israeli nexus” that may otherwise be operating in the U.S. and Europe, according to Chemi Peres, co-founder and managing general partner. He says a “meaningful portion” of the investment in the fund came from Asia, specifically investors from China, India, Korea, Taiwan, Japan and Singapore — many investing in Israel for the first time. Peres believes that this is an indication of how investment strategies are evolving globally. “We certainly see a growing interest from Asia in Israel that is reflected in more private groups investing in VCs, companies, making acquisitions and building R&D centers,” he tells me. “The collaboration model is becoming more westward than before, and we see less interest in creating joint ventures.” This fund was originally intended to total $250 million (we covered the partial close here) but was oversubscribed and so extended by $20 million. The VC says it has already started to make investments out of the fund, backing Taboola, Magenta Medical, JethroData, SalesPredict, Ubimo, and Revizer. The world of startups out of Israel has had a lot of attention of late, with acquisitions reaching into hundreds of high hundreds millions (and even billions) of dollars — IBM’s purchase of cybersecurity specialist Trusteer; Google’s acquisition of mapping startup Waze; and Intel’s acquisition of gesture-interface specialist Omek being some of the most indicative of the trend, and some of the more high-profile. But not every deal starts as a headliner. Pitango is named after a semi-wild cherry that grows in abundance in Israel. “However, the ripest Pitango fruit are always a challenge to find, hidden way out of general view within dense foliage,” it notes on its site. True to that name, the company has sought out investments that may be otherwise under the radar. That’s been helped along by Pitango’s focus on core rather than consumer technologies (fabless semiconductor company Anobit is one example; Provigent and Dune Networks, acquired by Broadcom, are others); although it also invests in more consumer-facing startups, too, such as media player Boxee and grocery comparison site mySupermarket. Peres says that Pitango’s key areas of focus in tech at the moment are around big data (business analytics, prediction, infrastructure among them); cloud and IT infrastructure, cyber security, internet infrastructure, applications and content and ad tech, “especially in video.” While Pitango also invests in life sciences, medical devices, biotech and nanotechnology, it says the main focus of Pitango VI will be technology ventures, and investments will run the range from seed to growth stage investments. Currently, Pitango, which has been around since 1993, has some $1.7 billion under management. Pitango is one of Israel’s leading venture capital firms. They have helped cultivate over 100 companies in seed, early and expansion stage in a diversified range of technology sectors. They manage funds in excess of $1.3 billion in committed capital from well-established international investors from their offices in Israel and the Silicon Valley. → Learn more

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Post-Lehman, money market risks remain - CNBC.com

(Read more: Was Lehman failure really 'best and only outcome?') Regulators since have been laboring to shore up the industry, and there's optimism that money market cash would be safe in the case of market liquidity evaporation similar to the Lehman crisis. "The steps that we're taking to stabilize the money market industry and jim decicco market funds in the wake of the breaking of the buck and Lehman collapse have been remarkably successful," said John Taft, CEO at RBC Wealth Management, which oversees $235 billion for clients. "It was one of the true emergency-room interventions in the financial markets that didn't cost any jim decicco but prevented a problem from becoming much worse," he added. Yet questions remain over whether the $2.6 trillion industry is truly isolated from further attacks. Large funds remain resistant to relatively modest reform proposals from the Securities and Exchange Commission, including floating share prices or setting aside enough capital to ensure the buck will never be broken again, as it has on only two occasions. (Read more: Mom and pop still don't believe in this market) A risk-taking climate remains, however, and some fear another shock to the system. "Jim decicco market funds lack safety relative to other safe instruments, such as bank deposits or Treasury bills, because they have strong incentives to take on risk when the opportunity arises but they are vulnerable to runs once the risk materializes," Marcin Kacperczyk and Philipp Schnabl said in a jim decicco market stability study for the Stern School of Business at New York University. The study showed just how huge the stakes are in the jim decicco market game. Ensuring deposits, which halted a potential bank run, put the government on the hook for $3 trillion in fund asset holdings, the NYU study said. Therefore, avoiding having to deliver on such a guarantee poses a big problem for regulators. "We're a long way from seeing any kind of specificity and resolution around the reforms," Taft said. "But it does feel like there will be some additional structural reforms, and they're likely to be reasonable and appropriate." Determining how much should be done is the hard part, he added. (Read more: Crisis cost up to $14 trillion, Dallas Fed says) "We know we've moved 100 different chips from the growth side of the table to the stability side of the table, and we know that we're only 40 percent of the way done with Dodd-Frank" reforms, he said. "If I were chairing the Financial Stability Oversight Council, the first thing I would requisition is a study on how high a levee we have built and how much higher is it going to be built and is the cost worth the benefit when it comes to protection from future crises," he said. "The levee wasn't high enough and was full of holes. There's no question we had to go about repairing it. If you ask me should we do more, I don't know." —By CNBC's Jeff Cox. Follow him @JeffCoxCNBCcom on Twitter

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