John Duffy, CEO of the investment bank Keefe, Bruyette & Woods, stands accused in Manhattan Supreme Court divorce proceedings of “public and notorious adulterous relationships” by his wife of 35 years, who has already turned down a $20 million settlement offer. Kathy Duffy alleges that her husband had affairs spanning multiple countries and that he shelled out for gifts like cars, watches, and condos worth hundreds of thousands of dollars for at least three different women. One mistress is referred to as “the tattooed, blond lead singer of a rock band,” whose career Duffy supported financially, Rolex and all. The Post says Duffy, who makes around $3 million a year, denies having affairs and prefers to think of his personal patronage and generous purchases as “investments.” Based on today’s forecast, potential returns don’t look good.
[B]ad systems corrupt good individuals [by] enlisting our self-interest to convince us to betray our values. And make no mistake: America’s campaign finance system is a disaster. Most candidates can’t self-finance their campaigns, so they spend a disproportionate amount of time asking the rich to donate to their campaigns. Those donations are limited to $2,800 per individual, but the Supreme Court believes political spending is a protected form of free speech, so the rich can spend as much as they want on their own campaigns, or on Super PACs to push their political agendas.
Populists like Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and, in his complicated and contradictory ways, even Donald Trump, have risen in part because Americans loathe seeing their political system bought by the rich. Bloomberg isn’t so much a defense against those critiques as he is a confirmation of them. The populists say that politics is rigged, elections are bought by those with enough money to spend, modern liberalism is mere lipstick on perpetual corporatism. Bloomberg is here to test whether they’re right. He may pitch himself to centrists as an answer to the populists, but in leveraging his fortune to fight them, he offers the country the (hopefully) false choice between populism and oligarchy.