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Goldman reaches out to a 'master of disaster'

April 29, 2010 |  5:32 pm
Democrats feel they have found a winning issue against Republican Meg Whitman, and that issue is Goldman Sachs.  

But there’s irony here: To defend itself, the Wall Street super-firm has hired one half of the self-proclaimed "Masters of Disaster" – Mark Fabiani -- while the other half  -- Chris Lehane -- is part of an anti-Whitman group impugning Whitman's links to Goldman at every turn. 

Talk about compartmentalization.

Goldman has been under fire on Capitol Hill for allegedly cashing in on the nation's housing crisis, and Democrats in California have worked overtime in recent weeks to link Whitman, a former Goldman board member, to the company.

Among those beating the drum the on the Whitman/Goldman story has been Level the Playing Field 2010, led by a group of Democratic strategists backed by union money.  The group has hounded, harassed and otherwise maligned Whitman by highlighting her ties to Goldman Sachs. Among those involved in the group is top Democratic consultant Lehane. 

Now, it appears, Goldman is reaching out to Fabiani, Lehane's business partner, for help. The embattled Wall Street giant has hired Fabiani to guide the company through its current political troubles. 

Well, this is awkward. 

While Fabiani defends the investment banking firm, Lehane will presumably be continuing with missives like this on Level the Playing Field's Facebook page. "Don't miss this article on Meg Whitman's record as a board member of Goldman Sachs. Innocent people lost their homes and life savings during the financial collapse, while elite fat cats made millions. Was Meg one of those who cashed in while the rest of us suffered?" 

Lehane and Fabiani are no strangers to controversy or perceived conflict. In 2001, during the electricity crisis, the duo worked for Edison International. Afterwards, Lehane was hired by Gov. Gray Davis. 

At the time Lehane said there was no conflict, even though the Legislature was contemplating a major Edison bailout bill, because "the governor and Edison have the same energy policy."

-- Anthony York in Sacramento

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