In two new television campaign advertisements, Republican congressional candidate Matthew A. Doheny touts his professional experience turning around bankrupt companies and protecting the jobs they provide.
While his opponents aren't challenging his claim, they are noting that none of his work was done for companies in the area he'd like to represent in Congress.
Mr. Doheny, Watertown, said he led Deutsche Bank's investments in — and restructuring of — more than 100 troubled North American companies during an eight-year career. He left the New York City bank in 2008 to take a similar role at Fintech Advisory, a private partnership of fewer than 12 people.
Public records show Fintech has focused its investments in Mexico and Argentina, both prior to Mr. Doheny's arrival and afterward.
The candidate said the partnership is "a truly global" entity, but that his focus is as it was at Deutsche Bank — on distressed North American companies that are in need of reorganization.
Mr. Doheny said all undervalued or bankrupt companies are facing at least one of five impediments to success: they are carrying too much debt, it takes too much money to make their product, they have regulatory or legal problems, their management structure is poor or the fundamental nature of their business has changed.
The candidate said Adelphia Communications, once the fifth-largest cable company, had financial, legal and operational problems and was host to corporate fraud. He led the restructuring of the Pennsylvania cable company on behalf of Deutsche Bank after it filed bankruptcy in 2002 and before it was acquired by Time Warner Cable in 2006.
In the case of Pacific Gas & Electric, Mr. Doheny said the company was waylaid by California's deregulation of the electricity market. On behalf of Deutsche Bank, the candidate helped the company restructure after it filed for bankruptcy protection in 2001.
Robert H. Ryan, a spokesman for Douglas L. Hoffman, Mr. Doheny's GOP primary opponent, was not impressed.
"The only jobs Matt Doheny has created in upstate New York were when he hired his campaign staff a few months back," he said in a news release. "Doug Hoffman is a small businessman with a proven record of job creation. He's founded 13 companies creating jobs for hard working New Yorkers."
Shripal Shah, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee spokesman, said Fintech "has been getting rich creating jobs overseas ... while jobs are needed in New York."
He added: "Upstate New York needs a Congressman who will fight for them, not someone like Matt Doheny who puts his own financial interests ahead of jobs in New York."
But Mr. Doheny, who made $6.9 million from Fintech last year, sees several similarities between his private-sector work and the congressional job he would like to have.
"No one naturally knows all this policy," he said. "When you look at making an investment, you have to do all the research in areas you don't know about before. It's the same running for Congress."
The candidate said working with troubled companies taught him a lot about the myriad state and federal regulations that negatively affect business, whether it be labor laws, wage and tax issues or compliance matters.
"The reality is, you begin to understand how businesses actually work," he said.
Alison M. Power, Mr. Doheny's spokeswoman, added: "Most people would agree that years of experience bringing U.S. and North American companies back from financial ruin is a positive thing — unless of course those people are Matt's opponents."
The candidate said he's "worked hard" to learn the "literally hundreds of topics" he's been asked about by residents of the 11-county district.
Mr. Doheny said he has also applied his expertise in research to analyze the district specific issues and understand the problems.
"I work as hard as humanly possible," he said. "That's who I am."
Mr. Doheny compared his campaign in the 23rd district to a start-up business.
"We work seven days a week," he said. "Because when you're not the incumbent, you've got to do it all from scratch."