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Exclusive: Kerrey Served on Board of Insurance Company that tried to get Bailout Money by Buying Troubled Banks

By   /   April 19, 2012  /   News  /   6 Comments

A fundraiser today for U.S. Senate candidate Bob Kerrey in Washington, D.C., was sponsored by 10 people with connections to an insurance company that tried to buy struggling banks as a means of getting bailout money from the federal government a few years ago.

The hosts of Kerrey’s fundraiser have ties to Genworth Financial – an insurance company whose board Kerrey was a member of from 2004 until March, when he stepped down from that and two other corporate boards. One of the other companies paid hundreds of millions in a settlement over charges of unlawful billing practices.

Kerrey earned between $160,000 to $215,000 annually serving as a director for Genworth and a year ago, owned $1 million worth of Genworth stock, according to company documents.

In 2008, Genworth and other insurance companies applied to buy small, struggling banks in order to qualify for money from the feds’ bailout program, the Troubled Asset Relief Program or TARP. The companies simultaneously applied for permission to become federal savings and loan holders and obtain bailout money, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Just a couple months earlier, Kerrey praised the TARP program in a Politico story, saying the “big government intervention in the financial markets” was working.

At the same time, Genworth was lobbying Congress on the bailout program. The company’s chief in-house lobbyist, Roger Levy, is one of the sponsors of Kerrey’s fundraiser today. Other hosts include Steven Alesio, who is on Genworth’s corporate board, and Leon Roday, senior vice president of Genworth. Other hosts are lobbyists who have worked for Genworth.

The Project on Government Oversight – a nonpartisan government watchdog group – was critical of the insurance companies’ bid to buy banks to obtain bailout money, saying they were “trying to jump on the gravy train.” The group said in a letter to Congress that while the move was legal, “These insurance companies, investment banks, and credit agencies seem to be straying from their business models to become traditional banks.”

“We think that these companies’ back-door efforts to access TARP funds is a violation of the spirit, if not the letter, of the Act and does not comport with the real interests of the taxpayer,” the group said.

In the end, Genworth missed a deadline and was unable to qualify for bailout cash, and dropped plans to buy a Minnesota bank.

Asked about the fundraiser, Kerrey’s spokesman, Chris Triebsch, said “Senator Kerrey is pleased to have support from a wide range of individuals and organizations.”

Reported by Deena Winter, [email protected]

By: TwitterButtons.com

Editor’s note: to subscribe free of charge to News Updates from Nebraska Watchdog click here.


Deena formerly served as staff reporter for Watchdog.org.

  • Move on. Nothing to see here. The majority of Bob’s money will come the grassroots at 5 or 10 buck a clip.

  • Truth-or-Dare

    The business who routinely does business in between the margin of error or the gray area is only one step away from doing something which is criminal. Many companies do it, and some get caught because inspectors and auditors are doing their jobs. However, with the lack of oversight of huge sums of money being given out still today, how is that need filled.

    “A shady deal” is one which a conservative company makes and ends up being published across America by all of the lamestream media whether illegal activity took place or not! Injured parties are paraded back and forth, giving the heart-wrenching details of their abuse and asking for the financial death penalty for the abuser.

    “Business as usual” is progressive version of “a shady deal” except there will NEVER be a report by the lamestream media, and only comes to light because the details were literally rooted out and exposed to the light of day by a real reporter who cares about presenting the facts!

    Now which do you think this story represents??? And before you say, “his association does not make him guilty of any wrong doing” and “lots of others did the same thing,” just remember that the only one running for office in Nebraska AFTER a 10+ year absence is yours truly . . . Bob Kerry, NOT so formerly of New York!!!!!

  • Will come from the grassroots huh? Dream on. Has anyone asked Bob about his involvement with the fall of Commonwealth savings and loan back in the earl80s? Look it up, in a book called, “The Franklin Cover-Up”, written by John DeCamp. It’s all in chapter 6 of the book. We can’t trust Bob, he will not tell us the truth. Read the book, read the chapter, someone ask questions.

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  • Roger: You know what “tongue in cheek” means don’t you.

  • Jazzee

    Roger Yant: You are right…I have read it more than once and Kerrey talks a good talk but he is lying just like old ben did to us….Kerrey should move back to new york and leave Nebraska alone..kind of arrogant to come back 12 years later and demand we hand it over to him…move on bob and go away take ben with you