Tim Cahill is facing another brewing scandal in the final days of his term as State Treasurer. Neil Morrison his former Deputy Treasurer, and most recently unpaid campaign advisor, Neil M. M. Morrison. The problem stems from Morrison advising the Cahill campaign at the top levels while also working on Massachusetts Bonds for Goldman Sachs.
Just last week Goldman announced that it has suspended work on Massachusetts Government bonds as a result of the brewing controversy.
Goldman Sachs, the world’s most profitable investment bank, has asked to be excluded from managing bond sales for the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority and Massachusetts Housing Finance Agency since October, according to state officials. The New York-based firm has been senior banker on about $7 billion of Massachusetts and agency bonds since 2001 and last was hired to sell securities for the government in June, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
Morrison, 36, was an unpaid adviser to Cahill in his run for governor, according to Juli Sweeney, a campaign spokeswoman. The banker “is no longer working for the firm,” Michael DuVally, a Goldman Sachs spokesman, said yesterday. He wouldn’t comment on the withdrawals from Massachusetts bond-sale teams.
Public-finance bankers are restricted from making political contributions to an official of state and local issuers, which includes a limit on volunteer help, according to industry regulations. If bankers run afoul of the so-called pay-to-play rules, a firm can be banned for two years from underwriting bond offerings that the public official oversees or would control by winning election.
How did Goldman find out that Morrison was playing such a large role in the Cahill campaign? Most probably from Paul Loscocco’s public statement regarding the Cahill lawsuit.
Most disturbing, however, was Tim’s admission during our meeting that his top political advisor, Neil Morrison (a former aide now at Goldman Sachs who claims to be a close personal friend of senior Obama advisor David Axelrod), has been in direct communications with Doug Rubin (Deval Patrick’s top political advisor and former top advisor to Cahill), discussing and otherwise coordinating matters involving negative ad strategy against Charlie Baker, the timing of such ads, and coordination of the specific role that the Democratic Governors’ Association will play in the race (including $4 Million Tim claimed was now being targeted by the DGA against Charlie Baker in this race). When I asked, Tim did not deny the rumors that jobs in the prevailing administration among members of their currently opposing camps (with longstanding prior relationships in the Democratic Party) were also being arranged.
The relationship between Cahill and Morrison is yet another instance where FOTs (friends of Tim) used their connections to the Treasurer and Receiver General to enrich themselves. Morrison was up until recently the head of Goldman’s Massachusetts public financing unit. A post he went to immediately after leaving as First Deputy Treasurer, which is essentially the Treasurer’s Chief of Staff.
One wonders if an SEC investigation, and or US Attorney’s investigation of the relationship between Cahill and Morrison is in the works.