No Love For Lazio

The banking industry can seem a hard-hitting place from time to time, but it's got nothing on politics. Exhibit A: Lazio, Rick.

The JPMorgan Chase & Co. executive took a leave of absence last summer to wage a campaign for governor of New York. Always expected to be an underdog against Andrew Cuomo, the state's attorney general who is the Democratic nominee, he drew fire early on over his history as a lobbyist and then a banker, a career trajectory combining what one pundit gleefully described as America's two most hated occupations.

The Village Voice sent a reporter to wade through 170 boxes of archived Lazio records, concluding that "what comes through like sunshine is what a loyal servant to Wall Street Lazio was." The New York Times ran a story headlined "Lazio's Ties to Banking Industry Haunt His Bid for Governor" about a week before the primary.

Those articles barely held a candle to the stuff put out by Lazio's self-financed, Tea Party-backed challenger, Carl Paladino, a bombastic upstate Republican who issued press releases such as the one titled "LOBBYIST LAZIO WEARS HILLARY'S HEEL MARKS."

What effect all this banker-hating had on Tuesday's primary election is tough to say as both candidates turned their attention toward the siting of a mosque near Ground Zero in recent weeks. But Paladino defeated Lazio, 62% to 38%. After the grueling campaign, it would only be natural for Lazio to be sick of being smeared as a banker. If he is looking for a place where that occupation would not be held against him, a certain company comes to mind.

JPMorgan Chase offered no comment on the subject, however, and Lazio's campaign did not return a call asking whether he intends to return to the company's private wealth management division.

Castle Falls in Delaware

In an upset, Rep. Mike Castle, a long-serving senior member of the House Financial Services Committee, lost the Republican primary for the Delaware Senate seat formerly held by Vice President Joe Biden.

Castle, a moderate, was ousted after Tea Party advocates targeted him as insufficiently conservative. The Financial Services Committee's second-ranking GOP member, Castle has served on the panel since he was sworn in to Congress in January 1993. There, he led the push for hedge fund transparency legislation and also sponsored legislation with Rep. Michael Capuano, D-Mass., to close the loophole that let hedge funds escape Securities and Exchange Commission registration. (A similar provision was included in the Dodd-Frank financial reform law.)

He also has worked with Rep. Paul Kanjorski, D-Pa., on legislation to provide a safe harbor for mortgage servicers who participate in mortgage modifications and with Rep. Gary Ackerman, D-N.Y., on legislation to reform the credit rating agencies.

Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del., a former Banking Committee member, said in an interview he was disappointed by Castle's loss.

"Anyone who has worked as long and as hard and with really a distinguished record of achievement to be basically shown the door as he was, and not very graciously, it's actually quite a sad time for a lot of us in Delaware, whether you are a Democrat, a Republican or an independent," Carper said. "He deserves a better final curtain than he's received."

Although the two belong to different political parties, Carper noted they were both former Delaware governors and have "always gotten along well personally."

Carper said he tried to convince Castle to run for the Senate in 2000 for a seat held by Republican Sen. Bill Roth, but Castle demurred. "He said to me, 'Tom, well maybe you should run,' and that's what I did, … but otherwise, I think he would have been elected if he would have run," Carper said.

Crisis on Film

As real-life policymakers try to move on from the financial crisis through the regulatory reforms they enacted, Hollywood is set to relive the 2008 turmoil.

Producers have apparently begun casting for HBO's version of "Too Big to Fail," the popular book on the crisis by New York Times columnist Andrew Ross Sorkin.

Actor Billy Crudup, known for roles in "Eat Pray Love" and "Almost Famous," among other movies, revealed last week in an interview on the Fox Business network that he is to play Tim Geithner, the current Treasury secretary and former president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

Other published reports identified William Hurt as the actor chosen to play former Treasury chief Henry Paulson.

The movie is set to begin shooting this fall.

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