CDR Lobbyist Is Major Rendell Fundraiser

Earlier today we noted Pennsylvania governor Ed Rendell’s ties to CDR Financial Products, the firm that derailed Bill Richardson’s bid to be Commerce Secretary. Now we’ve found another Rendell-CDR link.

State lobbying disclosure records from 2006 show that CDR was represented by Alan Kessler of the Philadelphia law firm Wolf, Block, Schorr and Solis-Cohen. Kessler is also the chair of the USPS board of governors.

Philadelphia magazine describes Kessler as a “big fundraiser” for Rendell. And his Wolf Block bio shows he’s held a string of prime patronage posts in government and Democratic politics.

From the bio:

Kessler was appointed by Governor Rendell as Finance Chair of the Pennsylvania Democratic Party.

Kessler also served, according to the site, as co-chair of Rendell’s two transitions, the first after Rendell was elected mayor of Philadelphia in 1992, and the second after he was elected Pennsylvania governor in 2002.

And Kessler is said to have served as finance vice chair of the Democratic National Committee (DNC), which Rendell chaired from 1999 to 2001.

Kessler did not immediately respond to a phone call and email from TPMmuckraker requesting comment.

As we noted earlier, CDR obtained a no-bid financial contract from a state agency, the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency (PHFA), in 2003. And its founder David Rubin has contributed $35,000 to Rendell.

Chuck Ardo, a spokesman for Rendell told TPMmuckraker: “The governor took no action on behalf of CDR.”

Ardo added that the 2003 contract was given by PHFA, and that the governor had no role in selecting CDR — the same thing he told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review which first reported the existence of the contract this morning.

Brian Hudson, the PHFA’s executive director, told the Tribune-Review that he made the decision to select CDR, and that he wasn’t contacted by anyone from the governor’s office.

Hudson did not immediately respond to a phone call from TPMmuckraker.