Private Equity Giant Taps Schumer's Son-in-Law as Lobbyist

Michael Shapiro joins Blackstone from the Department of Transportation

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer ((Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
August 2, 2022

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer's son-in-law has joined private equity giant Blackstone as a "managing director of government affairs," the latest addition to the New York Democrat's family lobbying empire.

Michael Shapiro, who recently served as President Joe Biden's deputy assistant secretary for economic policy at the Department of Transportation, will focus on infrastructure investments and projects at Blackstone, according to the firm. Shapiro lands the new gig as Schumer is poised to decide the fate of legislation on infrastructure spending and tax loopholes of interest to Blackstone. The move was first reported by Capitol Account, a newsletter founded by two former Bloomberg reporters devoted to covering the intersection of Wall Street and Washington.

Schumer is already under fire for blocking a vote on legislation opposed by companies that employ other members of his family. Progressive groups and Republicans have unsuccessfully pressured Schumer to schedule a vote on antitrust legislation that would rein in Big Tech firms. Schumer's daughters, Jessica and Alison, are lobbyists for Amazon and Facebook's parent company Meta, respectively. Shapiro married Jessica Schumer in 2016, after meeting at the Obama White House. The New York Times described their courtship as a "real West Wing romance."

Blackstone said Shapiro, who advised Hillary Clinton's failed 2016 presidential campaign, will not lobby his father-in-law on issues related to the firm. But the private equity behemoth, which manages nearly $900 billion in assets, has lobbied the Senate on the Build Back Better Act, the massive infrastructure spending program. Blackstone also lobbied the Senate on carried interest, the loophole by which private equity firms obtain lower tax rates for income. Schumer is leading negotiations on the Inflation Reduction Act, which includes language to close the carried interest loophole.

Schumer has ties to other lobbyists for Blackstone. Steve Elmendorf, a prominent Democratic donor who runs the firm Subject Matter, in the past has defended Schumer over the senator's ties to Wall Street. "In working with him for 25 years, he very aggressively represents the state of New York. Sometimes that means he's representing one interest over another," Elmendorf said in 2015.

Schumer's office did not respond to a request for comment.