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如何在特朗普的华盛顿赚大钱(四):利用混乱

更新时间:2017-9-5 20:50:23 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

How to Get Rich in Trump’s Washington
如何在特朗普的华盛顿赚大钱(四):利用混乱

Stryk was having his own qualms. Lewandowski had beaten him on some pitches, Stryk was told by prospective clients, by promising that he could get Trump on the phone — a promise Stryk felt he could not make. ‘‘We don’t sell access to Trump,’’ he told me. ‘‘I don’t know Donald Trump.’’ He was increasingly impatient with the notion that he was simply providing entree to the new administration. He was in negotiations to acquire a small design and branding firm. He saw S.P.G. evolving into something bigger and more stable, a full-service ‘‘advisory’’ company that could compete with the most sophisticated shops on K Street — and beyond. Stryk saw Lewandowski’s firm, and some of the others associated with the new administration, as short-term plays. They could sell access or surf the disruption, but he aimed to outlast it. ‘‘Do they have business outside of this Trump phenomenon?’’ Stryk mused. ‘‘The talk around town is, how long does this last before the business goes back to the establishment?’’

斯特莱克也有烦心事。有潜在客户告诉斯特莱克,他之所以在一些竞逐中败给莱万多夫斯基,是因为后者承诺让客户跟特朗普通电话——斯特莱克觉得自己无法做出这种承诺。“我们不能提供与特朗普通话的机会,”他告诉我。“我不认识唐纳德·特朗普。”他越来越不耐烦于这样一种观点:他只在提供与新政府联络的渠道。他在洽谈收购一家小型设计和品牌顾问公司。他认为SPG会变得更大更稳定,成为一家全服务“顾问”公司,堪与K街上乃至K街之外最尖端的公司一较高下。斯特莱克认为,莱万多夫斯基的公司以及和新政府有关联的其他一些公司只能得意一时。他们可以提供渠道或趁乱取利,而他志在混乱过后的生存。“在这种特朗普现象之外,他们还有别的生意吗?”斯特莱克若有所思地说道。“大家都在谈论的是:这种情况再持续多久,生意就会回到建制势力手中。”

Among the new arrivals, Ballard, at least, was doing pretty well. After only a few months in Washington, he had signed up more than 30 clients: energy companies, insurers, Amazon, American Airlines. The new Washington office would soon be on track to make $15 million in 2017, almost as much as his firm reported making in Florida last year. Ballard, unlike some of his competitors, was at ease in the swamp. He didn’t want to beat the Washington establishment; he was here to join it. ‘‘There’s no big firm that should worry about us,’’ Ballard told me. ‘‘We augment other people, or they augment us. The Trump guys are not going to take over the town.’’

至少在后来者当中,巴拉德做得相当不错。到华盛顿仅数月后,他就拉到了30多个客户:有能源公司和保险公司,还有亚马逊(Amazon)和美国航空(American Airlines)。华盛顿办公室2017年的收入很快就会达到1500万美元,几乎与他在佛罗里达的公司去年的收入相当。不同于他的一些竞争者,巴拉德在这片沼泽中悠然自得。他并不想打败华盛顿建制势力;他来这里是为了加入它们。“大公司用不着防着我们,”巴拉德告诉我。“我们来促进别人,或别人来促进我们。特朗普的人不可能一手遮天。”

If anything, the Trump guys were learning the downsides of proximity to the president. By spring, the Justice Department had appointed a special counsel to probe Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, an investigation that would quickly reach into the president’s inner circle. The various White House factions seemed to spend as much time planting negative press on one another as they did figuring out what the president should do. When the White House got involved in big legislative battles, like the Obamacare repeal effort, it tended to hurt, not help.

如果说特朗普的人学到了什么,那就是跟总统走得近也有不利之处。到今年春天,司法部已经委派了一名特别检察官去调查俄罗斯干预2016年美国总统大选一事,调查很快就会触及总统的核心圈子。白宫内部林立的派系花在相互抹黑上的时间,似乎和思忖总统该做些什么的时间一样多。当白宫参与立法大战的时候,比如废除奥巴马医保(Obamacare),这一点往往是拖累而非助益。

Proximity was proving an especially mixed blessing for Lewandowski. A stream of news stories had detailed promises he was supposedly making to clients, which he mostly denied — not just phone calls with Trump but also visits with White House officials and even access to Trump’s Twitter account. In late April, Politico reported that Lewan­dowski and Bennett also owned another, separate company called Washington East West Political Strategies. This new firm, a vehicle for overseas consulting, had circulated at least one written proposal promising to arrange meetings with Trump and other administration officials, seeming to undercut Lewandowski’s earlier denials. I later obtained a copy of the proposal, which named the potential client: Edi Rama, Albania’s Socialist prime minister. The new firm — or as Bennett later explained, a business associate in Europe, acting without authorization — had pitched opposing candidates in the same campaign.

事实证明,对莱万多夫斯基来说,与特朗普的亲密关系是一把双刃剑。一大波媒体报道详细描述了种种据信由他向客户做出的承诺——其中大多数都被他否认了——不仅是安排客户与特朗普通电话,还有拜访白宫官员,甚至是在特朗普的推文中现身。《政治人》(Politico)网站于4月末报道称,莱万多夫斯基和贝内特还拥有另一家公司,名叫华盛顿东西政治战略(Washington East West Political Strategies)。作为海外咨询业务的载体,这家新公司至少分发了一份书面企划案,承诺安排与特朗普以及其他政府官员通电话。这似乎让莱万多夫斯基早前的否认少了一些可信度。我后来拿到了该企划案的一份副本,上边有潜在客户的名字:身为社会党(Socialist)党员的阿尔巴尼亚总理埃迪·拉马(Edi Rama)。这家新公司——或者如贝内特所解释的那样,是在欧洲运营的一个未经授权的商业伙伴——还向在同一场竞选中互为对手的候选人做过自我推销。

Official Washington professed itself to be aghast at Lewandowski, who did not bother to couch his sales pitches in the Beltway’s customary euphemisms: He was what they pretended not to be. Ethics watchdogs cast him as living proof of the hollowness of Trump’s campaign promise to ‘‘drain the swamp.’’ Lewandowski disagreed. In his view, the swamp was the sprawling, unresponsive bureaucracy, not the people you paid to help you get your phone calls returned. Still, friends of Lewandowski’s told me that White House officials had advised him to keep a lower profile.

莱万多夫斯基让正牌华盛顿人士感到惊恐,他在推销自己时全然不用首都人习惯的委婉措辞:他正是他们假装不是的那种人。道德监督机构把他当成活生生的证据,用于证明特朗普在竞选期间许下的“抽干沼泽”的承诺只不过是一句空谈。莱万多夫斯基有不同的看法,他认为沼泽是庞大的反应迟钝的官僚机构,而非你花钱雇的那些让别人回你电话的人。不过,莱万多夫斯基的朋友们告诉我,白宫官员曾建议他保持低调。

By that point, it was hard to know exactly how well Avenue was doing. As the summer recess drew near, the firm had disclosed fewer than 10 lobbying clients. Among them were a San Diego-based environmental consulting firm and an Ohio payday lender — valuable clients, but not quite blue-chip. For every Whirlpool that asked Lewandowski for help, his rivals told me, there was another big company that decided he was too radioactive. Lockheed never actually signed a contract with Avenue; when news leaked of Lewandowski’s role in advising it on Trump, a Lockheed spokesman issued a carefully worded statement that ‘‘Lockheed has not retained Lewandowski, or his lobbying firm.’’ In the same way that most big chief executives turned up their noses at Trump during the campaign but now hoped he would deliver tax reform and sweeping deregulation, they wanted Lewandowski’s help without being too closely associated with him.

因此,很难确切判定大道战略公司做得怎么样。随着夏季休会期的临近,大道战略披露了不到十个游说业务客户。其中包括一家总部位于圣地亚哥的环境咨询公司,以及俄亥俄州的一家发薪日贷款机构——都是有油水的客户,但算不上蓝筹。他的竞争对手告诉我,每有一家惠普这样的公司向莱万多夫斯基寻求帮助,相应地也会有另一家大公司对他惟恐避之不及。洛克希德其实从未与大道战略签约;当媒体曝出莱万多夫斯基曾就与特朗普的相处之道给该公司提建议,洛克希德的发言人发表了一份措辞谨慎的声明:“洛克希德没有雇用过莱万多夫斯基,或他的游说公司。”大多数大公司的首席执行官在总统选举期间根本看不上特朗普,现在却希望他推行税收改革、大规模放松管制,与此类似的是,他们想让莱万多夫斯基帮忙,却不想跟他走得太近。

Then, too, Lewandowski’s clout wasn’t always what he promised. Puerto Rico’s government, for example, hired Avenue to help ease the island’s fiscal crisis. But the job pitted Lewandow­ski against a coalition of hedge funds that owned much of Puerto Rico’s debt, and whose former lobbyist Trump had installed on his National Economic Council. The swamp’s old guard prevailed: In late April, as Puerto Rican officials were begging Congress for more federal funding, Trump publicly dismissed their cause in his trademark fashion. ‘‘Democrats are trying to bail out insurance companies from disastrous #ObamaCare, and Puerto Rico with your tax dollars,’’ Trump tweeted. ‘‘Sad!’’

还有,莱万多夫斯基能起的作用并不总像他所承诺的那么大。例如,波多黎各政府曾聘用大道战略帮助纾解该岛的财政危机。但这份工作让莱万多夫斯基站到了一个对冲基金联盟的对立面,该联盟持有波多黎各的债务,以前为其服务的游说者已被特朗普安排进国家经济委员会(National Economic Council)。华盛顿沼泽的老卫士占了上风:4月末,当波多黎各政府官员乞求国会批准更多联邦拨款时,特朗普以其标志性的风格公开驳斥了他们的诉求。“民主党人正试图用你们纳税人的钱去救助掉进#奥巴马医保这个火坑的保险公司,还要救助波多黎各,”特朗普发推说。“可悲!”

In a sense, Lewandowski’s biggest problem was the president himself. Lewandowski had bet that the White House would be the center of energy and action in Trump’s Washington, but instead the Trump administration was being swallowed by its own chaos. Divided by factions and backbiting, unable to wield full control of the bureaucracy or execute on many of its own ambitions, the administration was in danger of becoming a minor player in the policy debates of the day. Many companies were coming to the conclusion that on complex issues like tax reform, their energies were better directed at lawmakers on Capitol Hill — and their money better spent at the traditional lobbying firms stocked with ex-lawmakers and their former aides.

某种意义上,莱万多夫斯基最大的问题在于总统本人。莱万多夫斯基赌的是,在特朗普时代的华盛顿,白宫会成为能量中心和行动中心,但特朗普政府正被自身的混乱吞噬。因派系林立和相互诽谤中伤而四分五裂的这届政府,无力全面掌控官僚机构或实现自己的很多雄心壮志,在当前的政策讨论中,有成为无足轻重角色的危险。很多公司开始得出结论,涉及税收改革等复杂议题时,它们最好把精力用在国会山的议员身上,把钱撒向网罗了诸多前议员及其前助手的传统游说公司。

Moreover, despite Trump’s campaign pledges, many of the agencies he now oversaw had proved more than friendly to the legions of longtime Beltway lobbyists working for the energy, telecommunications and other industries. In many cases, Trump had hired them outright: By the summer, he had appointed more than 100 lobbyists to jobs in the Environmental Protection Agency, the Interior Department, the Federal Communications Commission and elsewhere. Their old clients didn’t need much help from the new Trump guys on K Street. They already knew exactly whom to call.

此外,尽管特朗普在竞选期间做出过承诺,但事实证明,他眼下统领的很多机构,对首都其来有自的服务于能源、电信等行业的说客军团并不仅仅是友好。在很多情况下,特朗普直接雇用了他们:截至今夏,他已经把超过100名说客安排进了环境保护局(Environmental Protection Agency)、内政部(Interior Department)、联邦通信委员会(Federal Communications Commission)等机构。他们的老客户不太需要K街上那些新得势的特朗普的人帮忙。他们已确切知道该给谁打电话。

Perhaps that’s why the traditional lobbying shops were doing just fine. As for protecting clients from Trump’s Twitter howitzer — well, that had turned out to be easier than it looked, several lobbyists told me: Just show up in person, promise the president you’ll create some jobs and publicly give him the credit. ‘‘You make it about Trump and you link it to jobs, and you could be Russia or China and he will support you,’’ one told me. ‘‘It is that unsophisticated.’’

或许这就是为什么传统游说公司的日子还算好过。几名说客告诉我,至于保护客户不被特朗普的Twitter炮火所伤,其实比看起来容易:只需亲自出面,向总统保证你会创造一些工作岗位,并公开称赞他即可。“只要把一切都归功于特朗普,并大谈工作岗位的创造,就算你是俄罗斯或中国,他都会支持你,”一个人告诉我。“没那么复杂。”

Lewandowski’s office, when I finally got to see it, turned out to be a cramped room with scuffed yellow walls. His desk held a couple of commemorative Trump pens and a warm can of Monster energy drink. A new whiteboard, still in its wrapping, leaned against one wall; a carry-on suitcase leaned against another. I could see the White House, but only if I leaned over his desk and craned my neck.

我最终亲眼见到了莱万多夫斯基的办公室,那是一个拥挤的房间,黄色的墙壁上有些破损痕迹。他的桌子上有若干支特朗普纪念笔,以及一罐温吞的怪兽(Monster)能量饮料。一块尚未拆包装的新白板倚墙而立;一个便携式行李箱靠在对面墙上。我可以看到白宫,但只有靠向他的桌子并伸长脖子才行。

‘‘There it is,’’ Lewandowski said, a little halfheartedly, pointing out the window. His day had not gotten off to a great start. That morning, Puerto Rico had filed for a territorial version of bankruptcy. A prominent watchdog group had sent a letter to the Justice Department asking officials there to investigate why Lewandowski had never registered under the Foreign Agents Registration Act, a World War II-era law that imposes stringent disclosure requirements on Americans representing foreign governments in Washington. (Though Bennett and other Avenue employees had registered as lobbyists, Lewandowski insisted that most of his business was advising clients on strategy, not setting up meetings or contacting officials on their behalf, the kind of work that requires you to register.) Politico had struck again, revealing Avenue’s Citgo contract. Technically, the United States-based company was owned by the left-wing government of Venezuela, whose vice president the Trump administration had accused of drug trafficking.

“它就在那儿,”莱万多夫斯基边指向窗外,边有点儿心不在焉地说道。他的这一天没能有好的开头。当天早上,波多黎各地方政府申请破产。一家知名的监督机构致信司法部,提请其官员调查莱万多夫斯基为何从未依照《外国代理人登记法》(Foreign Agents Registration Act)进行登记——那部二战时代的法律就华盛顿的外国政府代理人应该披露的信息做了严格的规定。(贝内特及大道战略的其他雇员以说客的身份做了登记,但莱万多夫斯基坚称,他的大部分业务是为客户提供战略咨询服务,而非作为代理人安排他们与官员会面或取得联络,做那样的工作才需要登记。)《政治人》网站再度发难,披露了大道战略与Citgo签订的合约。位于美国的Citgo公司,实际上为委内瑞拉左翼政府所有,特朗普政府曾指控该国副总统走私毒品。

Lewandowski told me he didn’t work directly for foreign governments, notwithstanding the stories and documents. Not that he wouldn’t be good at it — you know, if he wanted to. ‘‘I don’t work for foreign governments, but if I were a foreign government, and I wanted to hire people who understood how to get to the president, there are a small number of people I would think of,’’ Lewan­dowski said. As he spoke, he seemed to recover his familiar brio. ‘‘The establishment is so afraid of President Trump they will do anything. Which includes hiring individuals who have purported to be tied to the White House who really aren’t.’’

尽管存在相关传言和文件,但莱万多夫斯基告诉我,他并非直接为外国政府工作。不是他不擅于此——你懂的,只要他愿意,就能做好。“我不为外国政府工作,但如果我是外国政府,想要雇用知道如何跟总统搭上线的人,那我考虑的人选会十分有限,”莱万多夫斯基说。说这话的时候,平日里的那种活力似乎又回到了他身上。“建制势力非常害怕特朗普总统,于是病急乱投医。他们雇用的某些人假装在白宫有门路,其实则不然。”

The next day, Lewandowski announced he was quitting Avenue. In a lengthy interview with Bloomberg, he explained that Bennett and their employees had been using his name to drum up business he didn’t want, exposing him to criticism and sullying his reputation. He insisted he had never asked Trump for anything. ‘‘People want to see me fail,’’ Lewandowski grumbled.

第二天,莱万多夫斯基宣布退出大道战略。他在接受彭博(Bloomberg)的长篇采访期间解释说,贝内特及他们的雇员利用他的名头去招揽他不愿招揽的生意,令他饱受批评、名誉受损。他坚称从未向特朗普提出什么请求。“人们想要看到我一败涂地,”莱万多夫斯基抱怨道。

‘‘I feel bad for Corey,’’ Bennett told me when I went to see him the following week. ‘‘He didn’t do anything wrong. But he’s a lightning rod.’’ Bob Dole, he pointed out, had just signed a $500,000 contract for work on behalf of the Democratic Republic of Congo, a violence-racked country run by a kleptocratic strongman. But no one in Washington gave Bob Dole a hard time.

“我为科里感到难过,”下一周我去拜访贝内特时,他告诉我。“他没做错任何事,却成了众矢之的。”贝内特指出,鲍勃·多尔(Bob Dole)刚刚签了一份价值50万美元的合约,要代表刚果民主共和国这个由强人领袖统治、暴力肆虐的国家开展工作。但在华盛顿没有谁跟鲍勃·多尔过不去。

‘‘He thought he could go in’’ — into the White House — ‘‘during the second wave,’’ Bennett said of Lewandowski. K Street was just a way station for him, Bennett suggested, while he waited for the only job he truly wanted — the one he could picture when he gazed out his window, down Pennsylvania Avenue. ‘‘Looking back on it, he probably should never have owned a chunk of a lobbying firm. In the media’s mind, every client we had was Corey’s client.’’ But even with Lewandowski gone, Bennett said, there was plenty of work. ‘‘All of K Street is doing well right now,’’ he said. ‘‘Chaos is good for everyone’s business.’’

贝内特谈及莱万多夫斯基时表示,“他觉得他在第二波中能得其门而入”——即进入白宫。贝内特暗示,K街对莱万多夫斯基来说只是一个小站,他在这里等待自己真正想要的唯一一份工作——他可以望着窗外的宾夕法尼亚大道,尽情畅想那份工作。“回头看,他或许根本不该拥有一家游说公司的股份。在媒体心目中,我们的每一个客户都是科里的客户。”但贝内特说,即便莱万多夫斯基离开,公司仍有大量业务。“目前,K街上的所有公司干得都不错,”他说。“混乱对每个人的生意都有好处。”

Lewandowski, I soon learned, hadn’t really left the swamp. He had merely receded into the nebulous ranks of Washington’s unregistered lobbyists. In July, he founded a new firm, Lewandowski Strategic Advisors. He offered clients ‘‘strategic advice and counsel,’’ according to a copy of one contract I obtained, and had picked up at least one client from Avenue, the Ohio payday lender. He was back on TV more and more, energetically defending Trump and plumping for various private interests. At one point, I got a tip that he had been spotted in Taipei, Taiwan. He wouldn’t tell me what he was doing there, or for whom he was working — ‘‘I’m just a private citizen,’’ he texted — but weeks later, he tweeted about the Trump administration’s decision to approve a $1.42 billion arms sale to the country. He hadn’t yet landed that White House job, but he was in the West Wing often, and he had a new Twitter avatar: a picture of himself standing on the stairs to Air Force One. Newt Gingrich’s publisher had bought Lewandowski’s Trump book, and by the end of the summer, he had added yet another gig, joining Trump’s official super PAC, American First Action. Lewandowski had absorbed the swamp’s most essential trait: adaptability.

我很快就得知,莱万多夫斯基其实并未离开沼泽。他只是退隐于华盛顿未注册说客的庞杂队伍之中。我拿到的一份合约副本显示,他于7月份新创办了莱万多夫斯基战略咨询公司(Lewandowski Strategic Advisors),而且至少撬走了大道战略的一个客户:俄亥俄州的那家发薪日贷款机构。他越来越多地重新在电视上露面,大力维护特朗普,并对种种私人利益表示支持。一次,我得到消息,有人看到他出现在台湾台北。他不愿告诉我他在那儿干什么,或者为谁办事——“我只是一个普通公民,”他发短信说——但几周后,他在推文中谈及特朗普政府决定批准总价值为14.2亿美元的对台军售方案一事。他尚未在白宫谋到职位,但他常常出现在西翼,还有了新的Twitter头像:那是他站在通往空军一号(Air Force One)的阶梯上的照片。莱万多夫斯基写的关于特朗普的书,已被纽特·金里奇的出版人已经买下;及至夏末,他得到另一个大显身手的机会,加入了特朗普的官方超级政治行动委员会American First Action(美国优先行动计划)。莱万多夫斯基汲取了这片沼泽最基本的特质:适应性。

Not long ago, Stryk opened a proper Washington office, right in Georgetown, a stone’s throw from the Four Seasons. The new space was undecorated and unmarked, and there wasn’t much there yet but a couple of laptops. But Stryk was buoyant. He was about to sign two more big foreign lobbying clients, the governments of Afghanistan and Kenya, along with a pharmaceutical firm. Saudi Arabia had canceled its S.P.G. contract after Stryk’s client, the crown prince, was deposed in a palace reshuffle, and New Zealand’s foreign ministry had decided that its embassy no longer needed Stryk’s services. But in Stryk’s view, these were just hiccups. Competitors around town — big firms that had never given him the time of day — were starting to ask around about S.P.G., wondering who they were and how they were getting so much business.

不久前,斯特莱克开办了一个正式的驻华盛顿办公室,就在乔治城,离四季酒店(Four Seasons)很近。那个新空间未经装修,也没什么标记,里边除了若干部笔记本电脑,就没有太多东西了。但斯特莱克信心十足。他即将签下另外两个外国大客户——阿富汗和肯尼亚政府——还要和一家制药公司签约。斯特莱克的那位身为王储的客户在宫斗中出局以后,沙特阿拉伯取消了和SPG的合约;新西兰外交部也已判定,其使馆不再需要斯特莱克的服务。但斯特莱克认为,这些只是小挫折。城中的竞争对手——一些从不理睬他的大公司——开始打探关于SPG的信息,想知道他们是谁,何以拉到那么多生意。

In about a month, Trump’s ham-handed defense of white nationalists and white supremacists rallying in Charlottesville would prompt most of the chief executives serving on White House advisory councils to quit in protest. It would cost the chief executives something, losing their face time with this impressionable, transactional president — and their loss would be K Street’s gain. Those same companies would now just rely more on their lobbyists, or on the trade associations they belonged to, to drive their agendas.

再过大约一个月,特朗普为那些在夏洛茨维尔参加集会的白人民族主义者和白人至上主义者做的笨拙辩护,就会促使大多数任职于诸多白宫顾问委员会的首席执行官以辞职表示抗议。这些首席执行官会有所失,失去和这位容易受人影响的交易型总统碰面的机会——他们的损失将转化为K街的收益。同样一批公司会更加依赖其说客或其所属的商会来推进自己的议程。

But as we sat down in his new conference room, Stryk was already looking beyond the Beltway. He saw Trump’s disruption spreading beyond Washington, to foreign capitals and overseas markets. The chaos in Trump’s government was creating a vacuum abroad, one that entrepreneurs like Stryk could fill with deal-making and private diplomacy. ‘‘I want to grow a business that’s 200 million a year,’’ Stryk told me. ‘‘You’re not going to get that arranging dinners in Washington.’’

但当我们在斯特莱克的新会议室里坐定时,他已把目光投向首都以外。他看到,特朗普制造的混乱波及了华盛顿之外的世界,波及了外国首都和海外市场。特朗普政府内部的这种混乱在海外催生出一片真空,一片可以由斯特莱克这样的企业家通过撮合交易、推动私人外交来填补的空间。“我想让公司发展壮大,一年有两个亿的收入,”斯特莱克告诉我,“光靠在华盛顿安排饭局可不行。”

The new contracts with Afghanistan and Kenya, Stryk explained, were prototypes for the kind of business he wanted to do, an escape from the washing machine. The Afghans and the Kenyans didn’t just want help with the Trump administration. They wanted help with everything: attracting American investment, troubleshooting problems in other foreign capitals, finding companies that could build them roads or manage their health care records.

斯特莱克解释说,与阿富汗及肯尼亚的新合约,是他想做的这种生意的样本,是对禁锢的挣脱。阿富汗人和肯尼亚人不只需要人帮忙和特朗普政府打交道。他们需要人帮忙做各种事情:吸引美国的投资,解决在其他外国首都遇到的问题,寻找可以帮他们修路或管理医疗病历的公司。

So recently, Stryk had begun pitching investors on a new venture: a $5 billion private-equity fund that would specialize in infrastructure and procurement. One side of the business, the lobbying, would identify government customers abroad; the other side would invest in companies that could deliver what those governments needed. Secure voting systems, border-security hardware — the opportunities were limitless. ‘‘It is our job, as conservatives and capitalists, to take the chaos and do with it what we can,’’ Stryk said. ‘‘Our goal is to take an environment that was created by the president and use it to —’’ He paused for a second, thinking. ‘‘To do some good.’’

因此,斯特莱克最近开始向投资者推广一项新事业:一只规模为50亿美元、将专注于基础设施和采购领域的私募基金。其业务分为两方面,一面是说客部门,负责找出海外的政府客户,一面则投资于可满足这些政府所需的公司。可靠的投票系统,旨在保障边境安全的硬件——机会无穷尽。“作为保守派和资本主义者,我们的工作是直面并尽可能利用混乱,”斯特莱克说。“我们的目标是直面总统制造的环境,并利用它去——”他停顿了一秒,想了一下,“去做点好事。”

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