To paraphrase a great political adage, a surefire way to lose an election is to get caught with a dead girl, a live boy or a Cayman hedge fund.
So, The Times has some real bad news Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL)...
The hedge fund manager boasted that he had traveled to “every country” in the world, studying overseas stock markets as he fine-tuned an investment strategy to capitalize on global companies’ suffering because of economic or political turmoil.
But the fund manager had an even more distinctive credential to showcase in his marketing material in June 2013: He was a “U.S. congressman,” Representative Alan Grayson, Democrat of Florida, a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
And while there's never a great time to be seen running an asset management practice out of a foreign tax haven while simultaneously representing American taxpayers in Congress and traveling the world on their dime, it could be argued that this is an especially bad time for Alan Grayson to be seen as doing just that.
Not only is Grayson running for Senate, but he's doing it in a 2016 election cycle that is starting to look like the scene in Frankenstein in which the townspeople grab pitchforks and torches to lynch the monster, but the monster is "Wall Street."
Sure, hedge funders like to think of themselves as a separate entity from the "Big Banks" that Sanderistas want to reduce to micro-lending rubble, but the American voter is failing to see the distinction...especially since Donald 'The Great Confounder' Trump has managed to rhetorically introduce the notion of "Those hedge fund guys."
So what kind of a hedge fund is Alan Grayson running?
In the 2013 hedge fund marketing material, the Grayson Fund is described as an investment opportunity that will “capitalize on markets in turmoil due to economic, political or natural disasters.” It says, “Alan Grayson specializes in discovering outstanding companies that are undervalued due to forces beyond their control.”
While you'd think that Grayson could deliver on all of that in his home state of Florida, he had to go and leverage all that government travel as a sales pitch to investors.
And to make matters worse for Grayson, he seemingly hasn't even grasped the financial point of running a hedge fund...
House rules prohibit lawmakers from holding an outside job that generates more than $27,495, under the current limits. Mr. Grayson said he did not violate this rule because he had not reported any earned income from the fund, even though at least some of the investors, according to the fund rules, would have been paying management fees.
Which kind of makes sense as he's also neither investing money nor covering up his tracks very well...
Mr. Grayson says he has done nothing wrong. “Here is something that is not true: that I somehow traded on my membership as a U.S. congressman to get clients for this fund,” Mr. Grayson said in an interview. He added that in the last year he had refunded the full original investments put in by his two outside investors in a fund that had faced steep losses — leaving only Mr. Grayson and a family trust invested in the fund.
Mr. Grayson has closed the Cayman Islands branches of the hedge fund, and in September, after the ethics complaint was filed, he changed the name of the fund from the Grayson Fund to the Sibylline Fund, LP.
Oh, that'll fix everything.
What makes this story even more bizarre for masochists people who follow Congress closely is that, on the sliding scale of the left, Alan Grayson is way more of a Bernie than a Hillary.
He built a national profile more than a decade ago when he filed dozens of whistle-blower lawsuits against contractors he argued had defrauded the United States during the war in Iraq.
In Congress, he quickly became a hero among progressive Democrats for his confrontational statements. “If you get sick, America, the Republican health care plan is this: Die quickly,” he said during the House debate over President Obama’s health care plan. He cemented this reputation when he compared the Tea Party to the Ku Klux Klan and called a onetime adviser to the Federal Reserve, who was also a lobbyist, a “K Street whore.”
This whole thing is delicious, like a slick basket of deep-fried hypocrisy.
So, what does Alan Grayson have to say about badly running a bizarre hedge fund that he registered in a Caribbean tax shelter?
“Honestly, it’s very frustrating to me,” Mr. Grayson said. “This whole insinuation that I have done something improper.”
Now you're talking like a real hedge fund manager, Alan.