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Rahm Emanuel’s Ties To Goldman Sachs

Given Mr. Obama’s remarks about bonuses to Goldman Sachs and other banks, as reported by Bloomberg last week:

White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, second from left, and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, second from right, listen as President Barack Obama delivers his State of the Union address on Capitol Hill Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2010, in Washington.

Obama Doesn’t ‘Begrudge’ Bonuses for Blankfein, Dimon

By Julianna Goldman and Ian Katz

Feb. 10 (Bloomberg) — "President Barack Obama said he doesn’t ‘begrudge’ the $17 million bonus awarded to JPMorgan Chase & Co. Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon or the $9 million issued to Goldman Sachs Group Inc. CEO Lloyd Blankfein, noting that some athletes take home more pay. The president, speaking in an interview, said in response to a question that while $17 million is ‘an extraordinary amount of money’ for Main Street, ‘there are some baseball players who are making more than that and don’t get to the World Series either, so I’m shocked by that as well.’

‘I know both those guys; they are very savvy businessmen,’ Obama said in the interview yesterday in the Oval Office with Bloomberg BusinessWeek, which will appear on newsstands Friday. ‘I, like most of the American people, don’t begrudge people success or wealth. That is part of the free-market system." …

We thought it might be instructive to revisit this Washington Examiner column from right after Mr. Obama’s selection of his chief of staff:

Goldman Sachs Will Be Sitting Pretty With Emanuel in the Obama White House

By: Timothy P. Carney
November 21, 2008

Goldman Sachs always has clout in Washington, as evidenced by the firm’s alumni serving as Treasury secretaries under both Presidents Bush and Clinton. Today, in these tumultuous times of bailouts and meltdowns when the investment banking leviathan needs Washington more than ever before, Goldman can leverage its most valuable asset yet—incoming White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel.

Goldman Sachs is the giant of Wall Street, and more than any other investment bank, Goldman is surviving the current financial storm. Traditionally a Democratic booster, and one of Barack Obama’s top sources of funds in this past election, Goldman has always had some particularly strong allies within government. Emanuel is one such ally.

An interesting early chapter in the Goldman-Emanuel relationship took place in the setting of Bill Clinton’s campaign for the White House in 1992. Clinton hired Emanuel as his chief fundraiser.

At the same time, however, Emanuel was on the payroll of Goldman Sachs, receiving $3,000 per month from the firm to “introduce us to people,” in the words of one Goldman partner at the time. This is certainly a noteworthy relationship, but it’s one that has almost entirely escaped scrutiny.

Corporations and partnerships are and were at the time prohibited by law from contributing to federal candidates out of the corporate coffers. So, while Rahm tapped Goldman employees personally for six figures in gifts to Clinton’s candidacy—more than any other firm—Goldman, as a company, was helping keep Clinton’s top fundraiser well-fed.

When you look at the explanations Goldman and Emanuel gave for Emanuel’s employment—he was advising on “local political races” or “introduc[ing] us to people”—it’s easy to suspect that Goldman was using firm money to fund the Clinton campaign by paying the campaign’s top fundraiser for nebulous “consulting” work—all while the campaign was in debt and delaying paychecks to campaign staff.

You can run a campaign on the cheap if you can get big corporations to pay some of your staff’s salary for you. This isn’t a far-fetched theory, especially considering the slew of fundraising irregularities the Federal Election Commission noted in Emanuel’s fundraising efforts for Clinton.

A Washington Post article from the era reports that FEC auditors “found that nine companies or individuals, including Goldman Sachs & Co.—where Clinton fund-raisers and officials Robert E. Rubin and Kenneth D. Brody worked … were paid $246,162 by the primary committee for work at discounted rates. Normally, companies have to charge campaigns the same rates they would other customers.”

So, Goldman may have been funneling money to Clinton’s campaign through the back door (Emanuel’s retainer and those discounts the FEC noted), and the front door. By March of 1992, the heart of that dramatic primary season, Goldman partners had sent $54,000 to the Clinton campaign.

They would contribute another $50,000, making the firm the top source of funds for Clinton’s election, and contemporaneous media credit Emanuel, together with Robert Rubin, with this tight relationship.

In his four terms in Congress, Emanuel has raised $74,750 from Goldman, making the firm his number four source of funds. Goldman has helped Emanuel. How has Emanuel helped Goldman?

The most obvious answer, as mentioned in this column two weeks ago, is in Emanuel’s lead role in shepherding the “$700 billion” bailout—first proposed by former a Goldman CEO, Bush Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson—through the skeptical House.

Of course, back in the Clinton days, Goldman benefited from NAFTA and the bailout of the Mexican currency, with Emanuel pushing NAFTA through Congress, and Rubin hammering out the peso bailout.

Did Goldman improperly funnel money to the Clinton campaign by subsidizing Emanuel’s salary in 1992? Did Goldman’s help to Clinton spur the Democratic president to push NAFTA and the Mexican bailout?

The answers to these questions are opaque, and with Emanuel burrowed deep within the Obama White House, the continued relationship between Goldman Sachs and Obama’s right hand man won’t be easy to follow.

Watch which regulations of Wall Street Obama fights for. Watch where the bailout money goes. And don’t be surprised Goldman soon sitting pretty once again.

Examiner columnist Timothy P. Carney is editor of the Evans-Novak Political Report. His Examiner column appears on Fridays.

Just a bit of context for the next time we see Mr. Obama’s feigned outrage about ‘fat cat’ bankers.

This article was posted by Steve Gilbert on Saturday, February 13th, 2010. Comments are currently closed.

9 Responses to “Rahm Emanuel’s Ties To Goldman Sachs”

  1. BigOil

    ‘I know both those guys; they are very savvy businessmen,’ Obama said in the interview yesterday

    A Chicago thug politician defines business savvy as paying off the right politicians to gain advantage for your business. To the rest of us, it is called corruption.

  2. GetBackJack

    How Goldman Sachs Took Over The World
    http://www.independent.co.uk/n.....73869.html

  3. proreason

    I’m beginning to think GS is more influential than Soros. And GS isn’t hindered by any ideology either….other than unmitigated greed.

  4. TwilightZoned

    Glenn Beck pointed out a while back how many people in the government either currently or previously worked for Goldman Sachs. If I’m not mistaken, Goldman Sachs played a large role in the death of Lehman Brothers – very effectively ridding a competitor.

  5. tranquil.night

    I’m slowly getting a grip on the liberal ideological alliance: union thug communists, green police pagan-fundamentalists, a visibly hedged ‘humanitarian’ elite of big business/big media/big academia/big hollywood/GovCo socialist-statists, and a shadow elite of purely profiteering global financialists.

    It’s not just GS; Europe, the Middle East, Russia, China – they’re all caught up in this game and it’s unraveling right before us. It’s unraveling because we’re unraveling, which is the point; a calculated attack on the private sector via financial crisis to create the perfect political storm for fundamental change to the American Revolution.

    Besides the socio-political element, this is as Rush always says about returning the wealth of the world back to its ‘rightful owners’ – except it’s not the poor but the truly powerful. The poor are just a tool; mindless serfs, to be brutalized and then victimized so that Democracy might be bastardized and your average, hard-working, God-loving man… demonized.

    However in the end, they – via Obama – will hang the unions, the ideologues, even their own old conventional media and who knows what other element of their faux-culture out to dry. Since they’ve lost Healthcare, they’ve lost Cap and Trade, they’ve basically lost the American Statist Coup of 2008/09, the objective here is to worm their way out of the hotseat for the last meltdown and set themselves up for the next one, wiping their rear-ends with easy cash along the way.

    All this misidrection right now, in my opinion, is just a precursor to the sudden and imminent need to pass complex and sweeping financial regulatory reform pending some second financial crisis and Wall St plunder to about 7000. It’s clear Obama and Washington are paralyzed; they’re still fishing polls with all this double-talk in the media; yet the Republicans are caught up in a bill that died a month ago. In my opinion they need to get their banking glasses on now and force the administration’s hand with all this corruption by exposing it clearly and vindicating their name once and all from this very obviously precise effort to escape the law.

  6. canary

    Goldman Sachs bought a company for half a billion from a former democrat candidate that lost to Obama. Obama is has dissed some Democratic philanthropists (Obama has a habit of going into poking fun at physical appearance descriptions) and dissed Billionaires, whom he insisted make donations, not accepting no for an answer. On the bright side, the ones who stuck with “no” gave him the pleasure to tell them what he believed, and that he would raise their taxes.
    So, as one of Obama’s first attempts as president of the U.S. was his attempt to lower tax cuts on donations, this should not upset the rich philanthropists as his time with Warren Buffen taught him.

    Obama dissed the AFL-CIO to the public for not supporting him in Senate race, but the Illinoise Federation of Teachers, SEIU, AFSCME, and UNITE HERE made a risky move in supporting him, so…..

    (excerpts from chap Politics)
    The Audacity of Hope by Barack Obama

    So I owe those unions. When their leaders call, I do my best to call them back right away. I don’t consider this corrupting in any way; ….I got into politics to fight for these folks, and I’m glad a union is around to remind me of their struggles. …But… have called for raising fuel-efficiency standards despite opposition from my friends at the United Auto Workers….
    You ask yourself, just what does good conscience dictate exactly: that you avoid capture by “special interests” or that you avoid dumping on your friends? The answer is not obvious. So you start voting as you would answer a questionnaire. You don’t ponder your positions too deeply. You check the yes box up and down the line

    POLITICIANS HELD CAPTIVE by their big-money contributors or succumbing to interest-group pressure–this is a staple of modern political reporting, the story line that weaves it’s way into just about every analysis of what’s wrong with our democracy. But, for the politician who is worried about keeping his seat, there is a third force that pushes and pulls at him, that shapes the nature of political debate and defines the scope of what he fells he can and can’t do, the positions he can and can’t take. Forty or fifty years ago, that force would have been the party apparatus; the big city bosses, the political fixers, the power brokers in Washington who could make or break a career with a phone call. Today, that force is the media.

    “Today, that force is the media.”

    Obama gives credit to media’s more than deserved favorable reporting to his winning the Senate. Twice mentioning the comfort of back-slapping, patting Axlerod, talking the Republicans out of running the add on his voting against the bill protecting children from sex-offenders. Obama wonders if he’d be where he is, if the Republicans had ran that add. Oh, how we wish some Republican had ran that add, especially during the presidential campaigning.
    I guess Obama was too savvy for the Republicans, but one thing is for sure. Obama got alot of practice his first year in office with camera, so expect seeing & hearing his face more & more, as the media is his self-proclaimed ticket to fame.

  7. Rusty Shackleford

    Wait a minute, Rahm Emanuel is tied to Goldman’s sack? What’d I miss?

    Did I read that right?


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