NEW YORK - In the midst of the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani has begun drumming up business, positioning his law firm to advise corporate clients on how to navigate business dealings involving the government's proposed $700 billion bailout of financial companies and other relief measures.
Bracewell & Giuliani LLP announced it has formed a corporate task force to advise "financial institutions, private investment funds, institutional investors and other market participants" on how the costly package would be implemented.
"Our team of former government officials and experienced attorneys in the fields of legislation, enforcement and finance are equipped to guide institutions in this quickly evolving and complex environment," Giuliani said in a prepared statement.
A firm spokeswoman declined to provide any further details and referred to the announcement.
Bracewell is one of many parties poised to profit if a deal is reached for the federal government to bail out the struggling financial system by buying up billions of dollars worth of bad mortgages and other toxic assets.
Among those who could make money are hedge funds, private equity firms and bankers, not to mention legions of accountants, financial consultants and law firms such as Bracewell & Giuliani.
"Invest in lawyers, they're going to have a field day in the coming years," said Axel Merk, portfolio manager at Merk Funds.
Bracewell says it has the legal and government experience to help clients understand whatever legislation Congress eventually passes. One of the task force members is Marc Mukasey, a former federal prosecutor and son of U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey.
"Mr. Giuliani and his partners will not be the only persons to profit from this," said Anthony Sabino, professor of law and business at St. John's University. "He's entitled to seize the opportunity. Certainly this will be a bonanza for those that advise the business community."
News of Bracewell & Giuliani's bid for clients, first reported in Friday's New York Daily News, was criticized by Democrats, who said he was taking advantage of the crisis roiling Wall Street.
The Democratic National Committee called the firm's announcement "crass opportunism" and said it reflected poorly on Republican presidential candidate John McCain, for whom Giuliani has been campaigning vigorously.
Republican National Committee spokesman Danny Diaz told the News that the criticism was "hypocritical and ridiculous."