Corker and Ackman at Valeant Hearing

Bob Corker took his time at the Special Committee on Aging Hearing  on Drug Pricing (a committee he rarely attends he admitted) to quiz Ackman on Herbalife and the GSE’s. It was bizarre to say the least. It was bizarre in that his line of questioning had nothing to do with the topic of the hearing and more so because he seemed to insinuate that Pershing’s  potential profit in the GSE’s was a bad thing. He kept quoting it at “$7-$8 billion” while casually brushing aside Ackman’s retort that taxpayers, who will own 80% of the company would see $300-$400 billion in proceeds.  That would be in addition to the ~$250B and counting they have already seen due to the net worth sweep.

When you watch it you won’t be able to avoid the feeling Corker hasn’t listened to anyone on the other side of the topic or made any real effort to understand it. He seemed truly uninformed regarding arguments that were contrary to his own opinion and spent his time quoting Forbes articles.  Honestly it was kind of depressing….we should expect more from the guy trying to take control of GSE reform. At one point when Ackman said “I am of the opinion the government cannot take control of private enterprises without just compensation”, Corker cut him off saying “you’re getting into philosophical discussion….” and instead tried to nailed down Pershing’s potential profit (which would be dwarfed by the taxpayer’s profit). “Philosophical discussion”??? Um, Bob, it is called the 5th Amendment to the Constitution?

Say what you want about someone like Elizabeth Warren (I cannot stand her personally) but when she shows up at a committee meeting she has done her homework and knows the topic. Corker seemed lost. Now, he did mention he would see Ackman to discuss the GSE’s but I’m highly skeptical he really meant it.

The whole exchange for me was a bit ironic given Corker’s own hedge fund involvement that may soon be under investigation

Clearly, if the GSE’s are “recapped and released”,  taxpayers are by far the largest beneficiaries.

Here is a link to the exchange




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