High-Power Lobbyists Pull Strings for Chrysler

Cerberus, the private company behind Chrysler, is investing $2 million in lobbying efforts to send big name players, like former VP Dan Quayle, to Congress.

With a temporary bailout deal just over the horizon for the Big Three, one of the companies is not like the others. In 2007, Cerberus Capital Management, a private equity investment firm specializing in rejuvenating dying companies, acquired Chrysler and its financing arm. The idea was to flip the company for big money, but turning around the company—with its product line full of big trucks and SUVs—was harder than expected.

Chrysler continues to lose money and cut jobs. Meanwhile, Cerberus refuses to inject its own capital into the failing automaker. Instead, the company is investing $2 million in lobbying efforts and sending every big name it can to Congress to pull strings for a bailout. The top two lobbyists are Dan Quayle and John Snow.

Dan Quayle

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Former Vice President Dan Quayle

Quayle is most famous for being a late night talk show punch line during his tenure as Vice President, but since retiring from politics he’s spent most of his time fundraising, golfing, sitting on corporate boards, and lobbying. Currently, he serves as a spokesperson for Cerberus and runs one of its international units. According to The New York Times, Quayle has actively courted Congress on Cerberus’s behalf.

No word on whether Quayle thinks that “bailout” has an “e” at the end of it.

John Snow

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Former Treasury Secretary John W. Snow

Though Snow’s term as Treasury Secretary could be described as uneventful, one thing that can be said about the man is that he knows the right time to leave a party—just ask his successor, Henry Paulson. Snow is now the chairman of Cerberus, and has lobbied Paulson repeatedly on the bailout issue in recent weeks. One wonders how heavily Snow’s connection to the Treasury Department factored into his hiring at the Cerberus—he’s joined on the lobbying team by Christopher Smith, a former chief of staff at Treasury.


Several lawmakers have questioned why Chrysler—which is expected to be sold off or merged into another auto company shortly—should be sitting next to GM and Ford asking for money. What about Chrysler’s dire straights couldn’t be solved with an influx of capital from Cerberus? Would granting the automaker’s request just amount to a giveaway for Cerberus or whatever company ends up acquiring Chrysler?

“ I’m not saying they have to get all the money from Cerberus, but at least show a good faith effort… Chrysler should come back to Congress and say, ‘This is what we’ve asked Cerberus for, and this was their response.’ I think the public is due that. ”

Rep. Elijah E. Cummings (D – MD)

Other Cerberus lobbyists include John Breaux, a retired three-term Senator from Louisiana, now working for Patton Boggs, an influential lobbying firm; Billy J. Cooper, also a partner at Patton Boggs; and David Hobbs, who served as President Bush’s personal lobbyist on Capitol Hill.


  • Bryce

    Interesting…..I wonder who will get a hold of Chrysler….will it be GM, or will it be a strategic partnership between Renault, Nissan, and Chrysler.

  • uktiger

    bryce!!! who will get a hold of chrysler? More like what kind of fool would want this mangy old dog that has fleas, smells and craps on the carpet.

    1 asset there, the Jeep name.

  • zach

    Ha ha ha! Word is, GM wants nothing to do with that dog. I’ve read that someone’s gonna end up buying a few brand names and then shifting production overseas.

  • Paul Beerkens

    “David Hobbs, who served as President Bush’s personal lobbyist on Capitol Hill.”

    How utterly disgusting. A personal lobbyist for Bush.

    I think we better off nuking Washington and start over from scratch. Nothing but a self serving bunch of greedy basters there taking advantage of hard working Americans.

  • Porous boat

    The Democrats owe the UAW for their elections. Since there really isn’t three big US auto companies only one call the UAW they will blindly bail out all three divisions if asked. The Ford division of the UAW will do well because of a good management team but the GM and Chrysler divisions will tank with their incompetent management teams and be back for a bail out by June next year. A savy businessman might pick up Chrysler immediately after the bail out, pocket the bail out money and discard the company.

  • Shines

    Well reading that Cerberus is spending 2 mil just for lobbying says it’s time to pull the plug.
    All Cerberus is doing is trying to get taxpayers’ many so they can sell Chrysler.
    Ford or GM should get Jeep. Nobody needs Dodge…

    If I was super rich and had a car collection I’d own a PT Cruiser and a Crossfire but that’s not a good reason to save the company.

  • Samie

    Private equity firm wants government assistance? Has that ever been done before? I find it interesting that the parent firm Cerberus Capital Management has not invested any capital into this company? Reading between the lines Cerberus is only trying to pump up the company long enough to sell off the financial wing and certain models. A question I don’t know why nobody talks about is should we bailout a private holding firm that has no long term investment in keeping this company together? That seems to be a more important question then the dumb GM lovers vs. Hater’s agreements I always see. As for GM buying Chrysler why? If taxpayers are going to help these companies skate by for the next year why would there be any talk about a merger its like putting the carriage before the horse and tells the general public that these companies are not telling the true about their financial situations.

  • frank gletterberger

    People just dont get it.

    Foreign Cars dont do anyting for the USA but turn us into a mexico.

    American Cars no matter where they are made help the USA.

    Its simple. US car profits stay in the USA.

    Foreign Car profits go over seas.

    High Tech jobs stay over seas.

    Engines are made over seas.

    All foreign cars contain much less US content

    http://www.levelfieldinstitute.org/files/scorecards/GM_v_Toyota.pdf

    Toyota has brain washed americans for years with PR to make you buy their cars.

    Look at the facts.

    You are making them richer and us poor.

    Toyota now is spending millions lobbying congress to get rid of the Big 3.

    They love this.

  • Shines

    Frank,
    I don’t think you get it. This is not about American versus foreign. It is about proper investing of tax payers’ money.
    I think GM should get help. Ford doesn’t need help. Why should we help Cerberus “flip” Chrysler? How does it help American tax payers to give Cerberus money? It doesn’t. Cerberus is not an American car company. In fact if you look at their web site you can read this: Cerberus is headquartered in New York City with affiliate and/or advisory offices in Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles, London, Baarn, Frankfurt, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Beijing, Osaka and Taipei.
    4 American cities and 8 foreign cities… what is the “US content” of that??? I think most Americans would be better off letting Cerberus take a loss and splitting the remains of Chrysler between Ford and GM.

  • Bill cosworth

    Also all the foreign governments are loaning there car companies money.

    Its a sad day in american when we cant support our own people.

    Really sad

    Oh and that ass Republican who has honda and toyota plants in his state was against it.

    We build apple computers in China. Thats does not make apple a Chinese company.

    Profits research and engineering are done in CA

    Wake up people

    The Foreign car companies have brain washed everyone. Mike more went though congress and saw lots driving foreign cars. When I heard that I know our govermnet is totaly corrupt getting kickbacks from Toyota to make sure it wont pass.

  • Will S

    Good article.

  • Shines

    Bill – go to sleep…

  • Bebop

    You guys are all faggots.

    Go outside, get off the internet, do something natural. Money is nothing without health bitches… believe it