How not to be part of the establishment? That’s easy HRC … refuse the money! On her speaking tour, Hillary wants to illustrate the Democratic Establishment is NOT represented by the Elizabeth Warren Wing. She ‘earns’ big bucks enticing the millionaire brokers of investment firms. Yes, HRC surely as ‘outsider’ is close to the American heartbeat of Wall Street in Manhattan, New York. In addition, the Clinton Family clearly hates firewalls and find them a hindrance for the American Dream for the 1%. Nevertheless as a former Secretary of State I’m fine with her earnings and her job with the Family Foundation. However, she takes a risk of a tarnished image to a large segment of American voters who feel she cannot represent her in the highest office, President of the United States for the Democratic Party. My greatest concern with HRC had been her hawkish stand on military intervention in sovereign nations. This was true in the 1990s with Kosovo and as politicus with her vote or position on Iraq, Libya, Syria and the Ukraine.
Elizabeth Warren entered the intensifying battle for the Democratic presidential nomination, defending Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders from a new attack by the head of Goldman Sachs — a Wall Street behemoth whose executives have delivered hundreds of thousands of dollars to Hillary Clinton, her presidential campaign and her family’s foundation.
In an interview with International Business Times hours before Wednesday night’s Democratic town hall in New Hampshire, the Massachusetts senator — whose endorsement is coveted by both Democratic candidates — slammed Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein for asserting earlier in the day that Sanders’ criticism of Wall Street had created a dangerous environment in America.
“He thinks it’s fine to prosecute small business owners, it’s fine to go hard after individuals who have no real resources, but don’t criticize companies like Goldman Sachs and their very, very important CEO — that’s what he’s really saying,” Warren told IBT.
In January, Sanders pointed to billionaire Blankfein as a prime example of the corporate greed he says is harming the United States. Sanders also released a television ad in which he slammed Goldman Sachs by name, and he has criticized Clinton, a former senator and secretary of state, for accepting $675,000 of speaking fees and $930,000 of campaign contributions from the firm and its executives during her career. Goldman Sachs has donated at least $250,000 to her family’s foundation — which in 2014 held a donor meeting at the company’s Manhattan headquarters.
Blankfein responded to Sanders’ criticism on Wednesday in an appearance on CNBC, saying the intensity of the criticism created an environment that “has the potential to be a dangerous moment — not just for Wall Street, not just for the people who are particularly targeted, but for anybody who is a little bit out of line.”
Warren, a Democrat, disputed that notion in harsh terms, telling IBT that such statements show why American voters should focus on Wall Street’s power during the 2016 election.
NEW YORK — Forget the Democratic and Republican primaries: The two biggest names in the 2016 presidential race are competing directly against each other in an elite forum, the halls of Goldman Sachs.
Jeb Bush will be back in New York raising money next week with his sights set on Goldman, the wealthiest and most successful bank in Wall Street history. He has a pair of events scheduled with current and former Goldman executives, sources familiar with Bush’s plans said.
The events signal that Bush hopes to go head to head for Goldman money and support with Hillary Clinton, who also has strong ties to the bank and is expected to raise large sums from its executives to help fund her likely presidential campaign. And it means employees of the nation’s richest investment bank are increasingly putting their money on the two best-known candidates, both of whom are viewed across Wall Street as centrists who could cool some of the scorching anti-banker rhetoric and policies emanating from the Elizabeth Warren wing on the left and the tea party movement on the right.
“Goldman likes to play both sides of the fence and that’s especially true of a race like this where either of these two candidates — Bush and Clinton — could ultimately be helpful to them,” said Charles Geisst, a Wall Street historian at Manhattan College.
Analysts say Goldman is hoping that either Clinton or Bush could help restore the reputation of an industry badly tattered by the financial crisis while pushing back against big tax hikes on capital gains and more stringent regulation of the financial industry. Both candidates are also viewed as defenders of the Federal Reserve, which has come under heavy criticism from both the far left and far right.
A Goldman Sachs spokesman declined comment. Spokespeople for both Bush and Clinton did not return emails for comment.
The battle for the hearts and wallets of Goldman Sachs titans goes right to the top. Goldman chief executive Lloyd Blankfein is close to Clinton and has held fundraisers for her. The former first lady, New York senator and secretary of state gave a well-paid speech to Goldman executives in 2013. She and her husband, former president Bill Clinton, have both raised huge sums from Goldman and all across Wall Street for their campaigns and charitable foundation.
- ○ Stephanopoulos’s Long, Long Record of Loyal Service to the Clintons
○ The Clinton Years – Interview Stephanopoulos – July 2000
Bill and Hillary Clinton spent the final years of the Clinton presidency cash-strapped and buried in legal debts. But they weren’t hurting for long: In her final days as first lady, Hillary landed a near-record $8 million advance for her memoir Living History, and by the time her 2008 presidential campaign was in full swing, the Clintons were flush, together having earned $109 million in the previous seven years.
When she left her position as secretary of state in February 2013, she had for the first time in decades something unusual: time off. She had a year or two to do whatever she wanted before deciding whether to run for the White House. In that period, she joined the family foundation and wrote a new memoir. She also hit the speaking circuit–and cashed in, pocketing speaking fees from businesses and trade groups that certainly have an interest in currying favor with a possible president.
Since leaving State, Clinton has made more than 90 speeches and notable appearances. Her hosts have included private equity firms, investment banks, nonprofit galas, trade association conventions, and a slew of colleges and universities. At least two-dozen of those were paid speeches. Clinton has banked close to $5 million for her speeches and appearances in the last 15 months.
Spokespeople for several of the companies and organizations that have hosted Clinton as a speaker say her contract prevents them from disclosing her payment, though several point to news reports pegging her usual fee at $200,000 a speech. The New York Times reported last summer that Clinton’s typical speech features “pithy reflections” and lessons from her tenure as secretary of state such as “Leadership is a team sport,” “You can’t win if you don’t show up,” and “A whisper can be louder than a shout.” The cost of travel and the use of private jet, according to the Times, are negotiated as part of her fee.
The Goldman Way, as it has become known, was set when the firm was private, but it continued to pay dividends even after the company went public in 1999. “Journalists literally kissed their asses to get a callback,” says Charlie Gasparino, now a Fox Business Network host. If that wasn’t affection enough, they also showered the firm with positive news coverage.
“We were Teflon, much to the fury of our competitors,” sighs Lucas van Praag, who moved from London in 2001. A 61-year-old with curly silver hair and a gap-toothed smile that makes him look rakish, Van Praag has endeared himself to business journalists. He may sometimes be “economical with the truth,” as one puts it, but his fondness for vodka on the rocks (with lime), his willingness to share entre nous gossip, and his hilariously disdainful mwahaha laugh make the onerous process of extracting Goldman nuggets more fun. (“Do we do that?” he asks gleefully of the annual e-mail readings. “If so, I must get in on it!”)
It falls to Van Praag, as head of Goldman’s public relations, to marry the cultural dicta set by his direct boss John Rogers with the personality of his ultimate boss Lloyd Blankfein. For the first year of Blankfein’s reign, this wasn’t a problem. Then the financial crisis happened. As Van Praag would put it, “Nightmare.”
“Lucas always tells me, `Don’t be yourself,'” Blankfein said before sitting down at the diner.
“I always tell him to be himself,” Van Praag protested, although one suspects he was being economical with the truth.
Recall, if you will, the mood in early 2009. The Working Families Party was organizing bus tours to the homes of AIG executives; that company’s CEO told Congress that someone had threatened to strangle him with piano wire. At Goldman Sachs, which had just announced record profits, the idea was to keep their heads down even more than usual. Lower-level employees were leaving their logoed gym bags at home lest they be accosted by mobs. Blankfein was receiving, according to one report, 75 to 100 pieces of hate mail a day. People were yelling things like, “Why don’t you kill yourself?” and “You should be in jail” at Cohn in the street. Van Praag deleted his Facebook profile.
After it was revealed that some of the billions of dollars in bonuses Goldman planned on paying out that year had been made on the back of ailing AIG, it started to become clear that Goldman’s hiiiiiigh-in-the-mountains public-relations strategy might be ill-suited to the moment. As conspiracy theories about “Government Sachs” intensified, Cohn went into Rogers’s office. “We’ve got to do something,” he said.
Rogers looked at him. “When the wind is blowing 100 miles an hour, you don’t try and change direction,” he said. “You’ll rip the sails off. You’ve got to keep going with the wind. Eventually the winds will die, and then we’ll turn the boat around.”
Though Goldman wouldn’t get out in front of bad press, it did defend itself–though usually in such a way that only made matters worse. The firm infuriated the Obama administration by repeatedly insisting it hadn’t needed a government bailout; the reams of paperwork it provided to demonstrate that its exposure to AIG “rounded to zero” was widely mocked in the media.