Democrats Consider Wall Street Venture Capitalist for Congress

According to several news outlets, Democrats in New York’s 20th Congressional District may today choose their nominee for the upcoming Congressional race to fill the seat of Kirsten Gillibrand. And it looks like they may come up with a well-heeled candidate who can fund his own race. Scott Murphy is a managing director of Advantage Capital Partners, a venture capital firm that has more than $1 billion under management. Although he doesn’t appear to have disclosed his net worth, he’s probably earned enough to pay for the race himself (which may be why he hasn’t disclosed it yet). Further, as a venture capitalist, he’s probably benefitted from the low tax rate for carried interest that so vexes Charlie Rangel and many of his Democratic colleagues. If he gets the nomination, it should make for some interesting policy discussions on the campaign trail.

Murphy also has experience in high government office — having served as an aide to two Missouri Governors — Mel Carnahan and Roger Wilson. Interestingly, Murphy claims credit for working on Wall Street ‘in the early 90s’, but since Carnahan only became Governor in 1993, it seems that Murphy may be trying to leave the impression that he’s lived in New York longer than he actually has. In fact, one outlet reports that Murphy was Deputy Chief of Staff to Missouri Governor Roger Wilson — who took the office in 2000. Presumably that’s an error, since Murphy asserts that he resided in New York at that time. Undoubtedly the press can track down the details.

Murphy’s race is reportedly generating a great deal of excitement among his supporters — in Missouri.

Murphy may also wind up with questions to answer regarding his creation of an ‘Ebay clone’ called Baazee.com, in India. The website was eventually sold to Ebay for $50 million. Oddly enough, a google cache of his bio from just a few days ago shows that he was proud to cite his role in creating baazee.com. If you go there now however, it’s down the memory hole. The change is pretty dramatic and clearly intentional, as the earlier bio bragged about creating 3 internet ventures — including Baazee — and the current bio mentions only 2.


Usually people pump up their resumes before big interviews; I wonder why Murphy is deleting accomplishments. (A larger version of the cached bio is here.)

Lastly, Murphy is also likely to get questions about being in arrears on tax payments (which is rapidly becoming a prerequisite for nationally-known Democrats these days). I’m told that Murphy’s Small World Software had three tax warrants for unpaid taxes, penalty and interest with the state of New York. The unpaid taxes, penalty and interest totaled $21,490, which was eventually settled.

I know it’s small potatoes compared to Tom Daschle, Tim Geithner, and Charlie Rangel, but it’s quite a bit more than Joe the Plumber. And his tax problems were big enough to disqualify him from speaking his mind, let alone hold public office.

We’ll know soon enough whether New York Democrats are brave enough to nominate a candidate with so many questions to answer.