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Bond Insurers Hired Lobbyists as Lawmakers Set Harrisburg’s Path

Assured Guaranty Municipal, which backed the debt driving Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, into insolvency, faced the prospect of forced losses in a bankruptcy, so it invested in its future.

The Hamilton, Bermuda, bond insurer, which was on the hook for $194.7 million, last December hired a lobbying firm in Pennsylvania for the first time, according to state records. Greenlee Partners met privately with lawmakers and Republican Governor Tom Corbett. Legislators empowered Corbett to name a financial receiver and prohibited the city from filing for bankruptcy. Harrisburg, a capital city of 49,500 where 29 percent live in poverty, has no lobbyist.