First public peek at Meg Whitman’s money
March 13, 2010
Former Ebay chief Meg Whitman would like to be the next governor of California. To do so, she faces at least three main challenges: (1) defeating Steve Poizner in the June Republican primary, (2) defeating Democrat Jerry Brown in the November general election, and (3) overcoming public concerns about her vast wealth and financial holdings.
Whitman provided the first public glimpse into her financial portfolio last week when she filed a state economic-interest disclosure form required of all candidates. [Los Angeles Times].
Last fall, Forbes magazine listed Whitman as the 326 richest American, with an estimated net worth of $1.2 billion. Her disclosure, filed with the California Fair Practices Commission, reveals that Whitman currently has 214 active investments.
Analysts suggest that Whitman has invested her wealth primarily in firms that sought to profit from the country’s credit crisis, in venture capital and hedge funds open only to the wealthy, and in oil, gas, healthcare, and other major concerns seeking to influence public policy.
“Whitman’s portfolio could be confused with that of a multi-billion dollar pension fund,” writes the Times. “The private equity funds in which she invests, which are risky but in good years yield double-digit returns, tend to be open only to big institutions and the rich.”
Whitman’s holdings include multi-million dollar stakes in oil, gas, real estate, health care, and information technology–all industries who do business regularly in Sacramento. She has also placed millions in firms such as Natural Gas Partners and the Carlyle/Riverstone Energy and Power Fund, which invests heavily in oil exploration and production industries.
The vast holdings provide potential conflicts of interest should Whitman be elected governor, but a spokesperson stated that the candidate is prepared to move her portfolio in a blind trust, just as Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has done.