• UPDATED: Elliott Broidy admits bribery, used to host presidents Thursday, December 3, 2009

    Broidy-Bush inviteNew York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo reached into California to snag venture capitalist Elliott Broidy, one of the most significant players in the expanding pension fund scandal–and one who until recently was a major player in state and federal politics.

    Broidy, who lives in the exclusive Brentwood area of Los Angeles, entered a guilty plea in a New York courtroom today, admitting paying nearly $1 million in bribes in order to win $250 million in investments.

    Here is what Attorney General Cuomo said about the case. For a review of the day’s developments, please see this article in the Los Angeles Times. And on Saturday, the Sacramento Bee connected more dots in the growing scandal.

    Broidy was chairman of a venture capital fund, Markstone Capital Group, which carved a niche by investing in heavy industries in Isreal. Public employee pension funds from California to New York invested retirement savings of state and local workers in Broidy’s fund.

    Cuomo accused Broidy of using bribes to win business. But he and his wife, Robin Rosenzweig, also gave large sums of presumably legal political donations, spreading more than $1.4 million in campaign donations to candidates and their causes in California, Los Angeles and at the federal level in recent years.

    Broidy was an especially kind to Republicans, including President George W. Bush, as this invitation at the top shows.

    Broidy was a major Republican fund-raiser during the 2008 campaign. Sen. John McCain brought his presidential campaign last year to Broidy’s Brentwood home for a $5 million shindig that was to be attended by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, as the Los Angeles Times wrote at the time in this article.

    The venture capitalist was part of Schwarzenegger’s stable of donors, giving $161,000 to initiative campaign committees control by the governor, and another $97,900 to the California Republican Party, California Secretary of State records show.

    UPDATE: Here is a link to a spread sheet of Broidy and his wife’s donations to California candidates and causes in this decade. It is drawn from the California Secretary of State’s web site.

    FURTHER UPDATE: Broidy was the Republican National Committee’s finance chairman during the 2008 campaign, for good reason. He and his wife were major donors to federal campaigns up through at least September 2009, as you can see from this spreadsheet.

    Broidy gave to Democratic politicians, such as former California Controller Steve Westly, who held sway over where to place pension fund money.

    Perhaps Broidy’s oddest public campaign donation came in the form of two $3,000 checks in 2004 to a political action committee of the United Food & Commercial Workers.

    At the time, the committee was controlled by Sean Harrigan, a former head of the board that oversees that California Public Employee Pension System, who later became a member of the Los Angeles Fire and Police Pensions board. Harrigan also has been subpoenaed in the ongoing case.

    Dan Morain

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