The disappointing debut of Facebook’s IPO and Morgan Stanley’s seemingly unequal treatment of its customers in providing inside last-minute cautions about the social network giant has investors and regulators upset, and lawyers readying for business. But when the nation's lawmakers start making the inevitable inquiries (key House and Senate committees already are making noises) about the deal and its chief underwriter, Morgan Stanley will not be defenseless. The financial services giant has plenty of political capital from campaign contributions and a veteran lobbying team.
Morgan Stanley has heavily invested in lobbyists. In the last three quarters of 2011, Morgan Stanley spent more than $2 million lobbying, according to Sunlight's Influence Explorer. Since 1989, Morgan Stanley's lobbying tab has reached north of $24 million.
The firm's lobbying team includes well-connected veterans. For example, in-house lobbyist Joshua Wilsusen, was counsel to the House Financial Services Committee, one of the panels that may review the Facebook IPO, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.
Morgan Stanley also hires Capitol Tax Partners, a lobbying firm that employers former staffers of the Ways and Means Committee and the Treasury Department, and SNR Denton, whose team includes several lobbyists who worked for the Senate Budget Committee and House Finance Committee members.
Also in the Morgan Stanley lobbying stable: Kate Moss Co. — no relation to the supermodel — which has focused on Dodd-Frank Implementation. Owner Kate Moss has served the CIA and the Nixon White House, according to CRP.
Morgan Stanley’s PAC and employees have also been generous givers to politicians of both sides of the aisle, providing more than $15 million since 1989. President Obama ranks second among beneficiaries of Morgan Stanley's largesse (behind his predecessor, former president George W. Bush). Mitt Romney ranks fourth. But when it comes to the more than $1 million Morgan Stanley and its employees have given in this campaign cycle, IE shows that Romney is the runaway favorite, with nearly $300,000 in donations, compared to $63,300 for Obama.
Photo source: Jenix89 [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons