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With Collapse Looming, Dick Fuld Holstered His Bush

"Y'know, we hired the President's brother. Maybe we should ask him to make some calls." "Meh."

We've talked a bit already about Jeb! Bush's time at Lehman.

But while we went over his failed flirtation with Carlos Slim and the sweet $1.3 million that he pulled down in a vague advisory role, we did not know too much about what Jeb! did or didn't do as Lehman faced the end.

Well thanks to WSJ, now we do.

Mr. Bush said he wasn’t consulted about Lehman’s difficulties as it veered toward bankruptcy, according to congressional testimony and people familiar with the matter. During a 2012 U.S. House committee hearing, he said no one asked him to intervene on behalf of the firm. Mr. Bush said Mr. Fuld, Lehman’s chief executive, “didn’t ask me to do anything, and I didn’t do anything.”

"Nothing?" The dude was the brother of the sitting President. It had to be at least tempting.

Mr. Fuld had weighed asking Mr. Bush to call his brother, the president, and raised the idea to some of his executives, people familiar with the matter said. They urged their boss against it, arguing it would put the Bush brothers in an awkward position, the people said, and they doubted it would help.

It was a crazy time, so who knows, but again; the dude was First Bro.

But The Journal also has some insight into why that would have been a sticky question.

According to the article, Jeb! had it in his contract that he would not lobby on behalf of Lehman. His role was apparently meant to be customer facing and provide something of an overall political Svengali presence.

The reality of Jeb! having been only about three-quarters in on Lehman's future could provide two narratives. Those in "Camp Jeb!" will say that it demonstrates he was a conscientious member of a private sector finance firm that got what it deserved. Those in "Camp Jeb?" will say that he wasn't even trusted to call his own brother for a bailout.

In the end though, it seems like the boring truth is that Jeb was just an ex-elected official with a canny understanding of the financial world who managed to make serious coin at both Lehman and Barclays while keeping his head down.

So... meh?

How Jeb Bush Spent His Years on Wall Street [WSJ]


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