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Morgan Stanley’s Top Lawyer is Quietly Building a Third U.S. Political Party

July 5, 2018

Wirehouse Morgan Stanley’s top lawyer, Eric Grossman, is building a new political party called the Serve America Movement, or SAM, Bloomberg writes.

Grossman, who didn’t comment on the story to the news service, says on SAM’s website that he decided to start the party the day after Donald Trump took office, according to Bloomberg.

SAM’s political stance is vague, however: it’s only clear it stands against “divisiveness,” the news service writes.

The party’s website throws up tags such as “applying America’s innovative spirit” and “the vitality of local communities” but provides no details on issues such as healthcare, immigration or reproductive rights, according to Bloomberg.

One Morgan Stanley executive who has donated to the party admits to the news service that he doesn’t know anything whatsoever about it and donated because Grossman is a friend.

Nonetheless, SAM has already lured donations from Morgan Stanley’s operating committee members and top executives, including John Mack, the firm’s last chief executive, as well as Richard Bennett, a partner at investment firm B-FORE Capital, and former Philip Morris executive Charles Wall, who donated $900,000, the largest amount so far, Bloomberg writes.

Its chairman is Scott Muller, once general counsel at the Central Intelligence Agency, according to the news service. And the party has already announced plans to run Stephanie Miner, a former Syracuse mayor and once a top New York Democrat, in a race for the state’s governor's seat, Bloomberg writes.

But SAM also doesn’t want to emphasize its New York roots and its banker-and-lawyer donor backing, according to the news service.

“Major donors are probably going to be finance or lawyers or Hollywood,” SAM CEO Sarah Lenti, who served as John McCain’s spokeswoman and a research consultant to Mitt Romney, tells Bloomberg. “You have to be financed somehow.”

The party says that small donors across the country are sending it money as well, and it’s headquartered in a Denver co-working space, the news service writes.

By Alex Padalka
  • To read the Bloomberg article cited in this story, click here.