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An Updated List of Goldman Sachs Ties to the Obama Government Including Elena Kagan

9:13 pm in Uncategorized by fflambeau

I. Introduction.

This essay shows the pervasive influence of Goldman Sachs and its units (like the Goldman-Robert Rubin-funded Hamilton Project embedded in the Brookings Institution) in the Obama government. These names are in addition to those compiled on an older such list and published here at FDL. In the future, I will combine the names here and those on the earlier article but I urge readers to look at the earlier list too (links below). Combined, this is the largest and most comprehensive list of such ties yet published.

For readability and clarity, I have NOT included many of the details and links that are found in the earlier article so as to make this one less repetitive and easier to read. So, if you want more documentation, please look at my earlier diary here at Firedoglake called "A List of Goldman Sachs People in the Obama Government: Names Attached To The Giant Squid’s Tentacles" published on April 27, 2010.

Note too that I have intentionally used the words, "Obama government" rather than "Obama administration" because some of these connections are not technically within his administration. These would include ambassadorial appointments and Supreme Court appointments (like that anticipated for Elena Kagan). This also includes lobbyists like Dick Gephardt who has multiple connections/input to Obama and to Goldman Sachs and the Hamilton Project.

In a similar vein, I use a broader definition than just Goldman Sachs (GS) because GS has funded, along with its ex-leader Robert Rubin, a right-leaning think tank called the Hamilton Project and embedded it within the Brookings Institution. Some of its activities thus also spill over into Brookings Institution projects which doubtlessly was one of the clever reasons Rubin and GS did this, along with providing their essentially neo-con/neo-liberal think tank with camouflage. This has worked beautifully for GS and Rubin as most writers–even critical ones like Matt Taibbi–seem unaware of the important doings of the Hamilton Project. The Hamilton Project has 32 people sitting on its Advisory Council and many have ties to Goldman Sachs, Rubin and the Obama government. Of the first four Directors of the Hamilton Project, three work in the Obama administration. Meanwhile, the most recent Director of the Hamilton Project came from academia and from a position as economic adviser to the Obama administration to Hamilton in the sort of "revolving door" that Washington is famous for.

The Hamilton Project (named after Alexander Hamilton whose most famous dictum was "The People are a Great Beast") is essentially pushing for cuts in entitlements (like social security), outsourcing American jobs, and for more NAFTA-type agreements. This is essentially the game plan for the Obama administration, not surprising since Barack Obama was the inaugural speaker at the Hamilton Project (and Joe Biden spoke there just weeks ago).

NOTE: This diary and its predecessor are the result of a lot of painstaking work. I am sure there are other Goldies out there in the Obama administration who I have missed. If so, PLEASE let me know by dropping their name in a comment below.

II. Additional Names of Goldies serving with Obama.

Enough background information, let’s reveal the Goldies with connections/jobs within the Obama government (or with "revolving door" status). For your convenience, I’ve listed the new names to the list separately and in the first section, led off by Elena Kagan because the buzz is that she is Obama’s pick to the Supreme Court.

NEW GOLDIES REVEALED (with respect to prior article):

KAGAN, ELENA.

Kagan was appointed by Obama to serve as the Solicitor General. The Solicitor General, often called the 10th Supreme Court Justice, is the person who argues the U.S. government side of cases before the court. Buzz has it that she is also Obama’s next pick to the Supreme Court, perhaps as early as this Monday.

At any rate, she’s already in the Obama government as Solicitor General. She also has ties to Goldman Sachs. From 2005 to 2008, according to USA Today and other sources, Kagan served as a member of the Research Advisory Council of the Goldman Sachs Global Markets Institute. Matt Kelley of USA Today wrote in his article, "Possible Supreme Court Pick Had Ties to Goldman Sachs" that Kagan received $10,000 from Goldman Sachs for her services in 2008, per federal disclosure forms. But since she was doing the same thing in 2005, 2006, and 2006, it would appear that she pulled in $40,000 from Goldman Sachs for what appears to be sitting in on one day sessions looking at big issues affecting the global economy. $40,000 grand for so little time is a nice gig if you can get it (and she likely got expenses too) for so little time. It’s not a huge amount but it is enough to affect a player’s mind.

Here are some questions that Senators on the Judiciary Committee might want to ask of Kagan:

1) Can you produce all the paperwork/receipts related to your ties to Goldman Sachs?

2) Did you report the GS payments as income on your income tax returns (lots of people in the Obama administration (like Timothy Geithner) or wanting to be (like Tom Daschle) seem to have trouble filling out proper IRS forms.

3) Will you recuse yourself in any cases brought before you at the Supreme Court (if confirmed) that have any connection, no matter how remote, to Goldman Sachs or its entities?

4) As Solicitor General of the United States, have you handled (defined largely) any cases relating to Goldman Sachs or its entities?
Have you given advice on any such cases?

5) Have you had any dealings with The Hamilton Project? This includes speeches given there, conferences attended, papers published etc.

BERKOWITZ, HOWARD P.

Here is a murky connection (but an important one) between Obama and Goldman Sachs. Berkowitz serves as the Chairman, Board of Directors of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINAP). It is an important Washington think tank that gives input to Obama. It was established by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) in 1985, according to Wikipedia. People affiliated with WINAP are a virtual Who’s Who of foreign policy including Henry Kissinger, Warren Christopher, Lawrence Eagleburger, and Richard Perle.

Berkowitz also is Managing Director of BlackRock and sits on the Advisory Council of the Goldman Sachs funded Hamilton Project.

BlackRock is a global investmentment management firm with over $3.35 trillion under management. There is a virtual revolving door of hiring and acquisitions between BlackRock and Goldman Sachs as reported here.

DUDLEY, WILLIAM C.

Dudley, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York web site:

became the 10th president and chief executive officer of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York on January 27, 2009. In that capacity, he serves as the vice chairman and a permanent member of the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC), the group responsible for formulating the nation’s monetary policy.

Mr. Dudley was a partner and managing director at Goldman, Sachs & Company and was the firm’s chief U.S. economist for a decade. Earlier in his career at Goldman Sachs, he had a variety of roles including a stint when he was responsible for the firm’s foreign exchange forecasts. Prior to joining Goldman Sachs in 1986, he was a vice president at the former Morgan Guaranty Trust Company. Mr. Dudley was an economist at the Federal Reserve Board from 1981 to 1983.

Dudley seems to have Geithner’s old job, passed from one Goldie to the next.

EFFRON, BLAIR W.

Effron is a money man. As a bundler for the 2008 Obama campaign, he raised more than $100,000. According to this web site he also was a "Mega Donor" to Obama in 2008, giving more than $28,500 though committees supporting Obama. His wife is also a major contributor, giving tens of thousands of dollars.

Effron is a founding partner of Centerview Partners LLC. Their web site indicates he has executed over $400 billion in transactions.

Effron is also on the Advisory Council of the Goldman Sachs/Robert Rubin funded Hamilton Project.

FROMAN, Michael.

Froman (born August 20, 1962) is deputy assistant to the president and deputy national security adviser for international economic affairs, a position to be held jointly at the National Security Council and the National Economic Council. His responsibilities will include serving as the White House liaison to the G7, G8 and G20 summits of economic powers.[

He's on my prior list but his name was misspelled there (as Frohman). Froman's days with Obama go back to Harvard Law School. Froman appears to be the original link between Robert Rubin/Goldman Sachs and Obama.

From Wikipedia:

>Froman received a bachelor's degree in Public and International Affairs from the Woodrow Wilson School of Princeton University in 1985, a doctorate in International Relations from Oxford University and a law degree from Harvard Law School where he was a classmate of Barack Obama[2][3], and also an associate of Obama’s on the Harvard Law Review.[4]

After Harvard, Froman had lost touch with Barack Obama until Froman heard of Obama’s Senate run. Froman volunteered at that point to help, began raising funds for the candidate, and introduced the candidate to Robert Rubin, whom Froman had followed from the Treasury Department to Citigroup [Froman served as Rubin's Chief of Staff] after the Clinton administration.[4] Before moving to the Obama administration, Froman most recently was a managing director of Citigroup’s Citi Alternative Investments Institutional Clients Group, where he was head of infrastructure and sustainable development [5]. He also served on 12-member advisory board of the Obama campaign’s transition team.[1]

this source provides new information indicating Frohman, who was Mr. Goldman Sach’s former Chief of Staff, as an "informal adviser" to Obama. They spell his name as Froman, Michael.

FUDGE, ANNE.

Obama just appointed Fudge to his budget deficit reduction committee (whose real goal, like that of the Hamilton Project, is to cut entitlements). Fudge has been the public relations craftsman for some of America’s largest corporations. She sits, according to the Washington Post, as a Trustee of the Brookings Institution within which the Hamilton Project is embedded.

GEPHARDT, RICHARD (aka "DICK") A.

Gephardt is one of the movers and shakers in the Democratic party and served as the Democratic Majority Leader of the House from 1989 to 1995. While he doesn’t have an "official position" in the Obama administration his name was floated as a possible VP to Obama in 2008. Like so many ex-politicians, Gephardt has set up a consulting firm that has its fingers in just about every pie in the Obama government. Gephardt, for instance, advised the Obama administration, according to the New York Times, that universal health coverage could not pass in 2009 and urged Obama to "defer that goal." That’s what the people Gephardt takes money from wanted and that’s also what Obama did.

Here’s more from The New York Times:

One old friend links Mr. Gephardt’s assessment to his lucrative new career as a lobbyist. “He’s advising a lot of big corporations,” said Tom Buffenbarger, president of the machinists’ union.

Wikipedia says that:

Dick Gephardt started Gephardt Group in January 2005 and is currently its President and CEO. Gephardt Group is a multi-disciplined consulting firm focused on helping clients improve Labor Relations, develop Political and Public Policy Strategies and enhance Business Results by gaining access to new markets or partners.[15]

According to Wikipedia:

is also an active consultant for Goldman Sachs.

Gephardt also sits on the Advisory Council of the Hamilton Project funded by Robert Rubin and Goldman Sachs.

MURPHY, PHILLIP.

Obama appointed Murphy to serve as his Ambassador to Germany. In the 1990′s, Murphy, who worked for decades with Goldman Sachs, served as GS’s head of its German offices. From 1997-1999, Murphy served as President of Goldman Sachs, Asia (during the Asian economic crisis). In all, according to Wikipedia, Murphy spent 23 years at Goldman Sachs including as a Senior Director of the firm in 2003 before retiring from GS in 2006.

GRANOFF, MICHAEL D.

Granoff is a money man, and contributed lots of bucks as a "mega donor" to the Obama campaign. At least $28,500 according to Public Citizen.

Granoff is President, CEO and Founder of Pomona Capital, a venture capital group.

Granoff is also one of the 19 members of the Goldman Sachs-Robert Rubin funded Hamilton Project.

LIDDY, EDWARD MICHAEL.

Liddy was, until recently, the CEO of AIG which, during the Obama administration, was essentially taken over by the government. He served in high positions at Goldman Sachs including : Board Member (Chairman, 1990-94; Director, 2003-2008). He was picked to the Goldman board by none other than Hank Paulson, former head of Goldman Sachs who was Bush’s Treasury Secretary who with Obama’s Treasury Secretary (Geithner) fashioned TARP.

Wikipedia reports:

Liddy garnered national headlines in October 2008 for defending a controversial $440,000 AIG retreat for top-performing insurance salesmen at the luxury St. Regis Resort in Monarch Beach, California. The retreat, which was held shortly after the U.S. government rescued AIG from insolvency with $84 billion in loans, included $200,000 for rooms, $150,000 for meals and $23,000 for the spa. In testimony before the U.S. House Oversight Committee, Liddy stated that such retreats "are standard practice in our industry."[11] During the U.S. presidential debate on October 7, 2008, Democratic presidential nominee Sen. Barack Obama mentioned the retreat and said, "The Treasury should demand that money back and those executives should be fired."[12]

But that’s not what happened. Instead, Barack Obama as President kept Mr. Liddy on while AIG was essentially in receivership under the Obama administration.

How about this for a conflict of interest, again as reported by Wikipedia:

Liddy owns 27,129 shares in Goldman Sachs, at the time worth just over $3 million.[18] In April 2009 members of Congress called for Liddy to sell these shares, as they create a conflict of interest due to Goldman Sachs’ receipt of bailout money.[19] About two-thirds of Liddy’s holding is restricted and cannot be sold until May 31.[18]

Liddy announced on May 21, 2009 that he would resign as AIG Chairman and CEO when replacements were found, suggesting that the two roles be split.[20] Liddy was not paid for his time at AIG.[21] On August 3, 2009, Robert Benmosche was named President and CEO of AIG.[7]

NIEDERAUER, DUNCAN.

Niederauer is CEO of the New York Stock Exchange. While a private entity, it is heavily regulated by the government and has close government ties. Niederauer, for instance, is a frequent speaker at Federal Reserve events:

New York Stock Exchange Euronext CEO Duncan L. Niederauer delivered the keynote address today at the fourth annual global summit on financial literacy hosted by the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago and Visa Inc.

He has an extensive Goldman Sachs background:

He joined NYSE Group following a 22-year career at Goldman Sachs. He served as a Managing Director of Goldman Sachs since 1997 and was responsible for U.S. cash equities operations, including Institutional and Member Firm Client Group sales and client services for … both the New York Stock Exchange and NYSE Arca. Mr. Niederauer was previously a Partner at The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. (United States) ("GS") where he held many positions.

PERRY, RICHARD.

Perry is an Obama supporter, adviser and fund raiser. He worked for Goldman Sachs and is on the Goldman Sachs’funded, Hamilton Project’s Advisory Council. He is also CEO of Perry Capital, a hedge fund. Perry owns the full floor penthouse at 1 Sutton Place in NYC and according to the Washington Examiner is one of 15 " fat cat Wall St. Banker" friends of Obama. These are the same "fat cats" that Obama sometimes flails out at in the press to pretend he’s a populist!

SHAFRAN, STEVEN.

Shafran served as an advisor/aide to Timothy Geithner especially on TARP. All of the advisers on that appear in a very murky fashion. And Shafran, like a lot of other TARP advisers, has extensive ties to Goldman as a executive for years. He’s especially shadowy, however. Here’s a link about him from CBS News.

THAIN, JOHN.

John Thain has served as an adviser to Timothy Geithner. Thain was President and Chief Operating Officer of Goldman Sachs from 1999 to 2003.

TYSON, LAURA D’ANDREA.

An economic adviser to President Obama. Tyson is a Hamilton Project Advisory Council Member. The Hamilton Project as noted above was founded by Bob Rubin and Goldman Sachs and has close links to Obama personally.

III. COMBINED LIST OF GOLDIES TIED TO THE OBAMA GOVERNMENT.

This lists compiles the names above and those in the prior diary on this. For more detail on names not annotated in this diary, see the earlier diary linked here):

ALTMAN, ROGER.

BERKOWITZ, HOWARD P.

BIDEN, JOE.

BRAINARD, LAEL.

BUFFETT, WARREN.

CLINTON, HILLARY.

CRAIG, GREGORY. (revolving door)

DONILON, THOMAS.

DUDLEY, WILLIAM C.

EFFRON, BLAIR W.

ELMENDORF, DOUGLAS.

EMANUEL, RAHM.

FARRELL, DIANA.

FRIEDMAN, STEPHEN.

FROMAN, Michael.

FUDGE, ANNE.

FURMAN, JASON.

GALLOGLY, MARK.

GEITHNER, TIMOTHY.

GENSLER, GARY.

GEPHARDT, RICHARD (aka "DICK") A.

GREENSTONE, MICHAEL (revolving door to Hamilton Project)

HAMILTON PROJECT, THE

HORMATS, ROBERT.

KAGAN, ELENA.

KASHKARI, NEEL.

KORNBLUH, KAREN.

LEW, JACOB (AKA "JACK") J.

LIDDY, EDWARD MICHAEL.

LIPTON, DAVID A.

MINDICH, ERIC

MURPHY, PHILLIP.

NIEDERAUER, DUNCAN.

OBAMA, BARACK H.

ORSZAG, PETER.

PATTERSON, MARK.

PERRY, RICHARD.

RATTNER, STEVE.

REISCHAUER, ROBERT D.

RIVLIN, ALICE.

RUBIN, JAMES.

RUBIN, ROBERT.

SHAFRAN, STEVEN.

SPERLING, GENE.

STORCH, ADAM.

SUMMERS, LARRY.

THAIN, JOHN.

TYSON, LAURA D’ANDREA.

RECOMMENDED FURTHER READING:

1. Greg Gordon (McClatchy Newspapers), "Goldman’s White House Connections Raise Eyebrows" April 21, 2010.

2. Fflambeau, "With the Obama Administration Infested With Goldman Sachs People, How Real is the Obama/Democratic Attack on Big Banks" FDL Diary, April 21, 2010.

3. "More Investigations of Goldman Sachs, A Double-Edge Swords for Obama and Democrats"

4. Paul Street’s article showing that Obama held corporatist ideas long before elected and his indebtedness to the interests of big business.

5. Matthew Skomarovsky, "Obama Packs Debt Commission with Social Security Looters", March 28, 2010 at Alternet.

6. Fflambeau, "A List of Goldman Sachs People in the Obama Administration: Names Attached to the Giant Squid’s Tentacles"

ESSENTIAL READING ON THE HAMILTON PROJECT AND ITS TIES TO THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION:

1. Kirk James Murphy, M.D. "The Hamilton Project: Same Corporatist Whine In New DLC Vessels." THE seminal article on the Hamilton Project which also features a video clip of then Senator Barack Obama talking about "my friend, Bob [Rubin]" and espousing cuts in entitlements and the "need" for more free trade pacts like NAFTA.

2. Fflambeau, "Obama’s ‘Smoking Gun’: His Hamilton Project Speech Shows His Links to Goldman, Entitlement Cuts, Part 1.

3. Fflambeau, "Obama’s ‘Smoking Gun’: His Hamilton Project Speech Shows His Links to Goldman, Entitlement Cuts, Part 2".

4. Another source for Obama’s Hamilton Project speech of April 2006. Contains video clip.

5. James Kirk Murphy, M.D., "Remember the Hamilton Project?" Dr. Murph’s latest look at the Hamilton Project.

6. David Sirota, "Wall Street Democrats Unveil Plan to Undermine Progressives", April 5, 2006.

Has Obama Brought Chicago-Style Pay to Play to Washington, D.C.?

9:51 pm in Uncategorized by fflambeau

This diary asks the question: has Barack "Offshore" Obama brought Chicago style pay-to-play to Washington, D.C.?

First off, what’s meant by pay to play? In politics, pay to play refers to:

…a system, akin to payola in the music industry, by which one pays (or must pay) money to become a player.

Typically, the payer (an individual, business, or organization) makes campaign contributions to public officials, party officials, or parties themselves, and receives political or pecuniary benefit such as no-bid government contracts, influence over legislation, political appointments or nominations, special access or other favors. The contributions, less frequently, may be to nonprofit or institutional entities, or may take the form of some benefit to a third party, such as a family member of a governmental official.

The phrase, almost always used in criticism, also refers to the increasing cost of elections and the "price of admission" to even run and the concern "that one candidate can far outspend his opponents, essentially buying the election."

While the direct exchange of campaign contributions for contracts is the most visible form of Pay to Play, the greater concern is the central role of money in politics, and its skewing both the composition and the policies of government.

…Incumbent candidates and their political organizations are typically the greatest beneficiaries of Pay-to-Play. Both the Democratic and Republican parties have been criticized for the practice. Many seeking to ban or restrict the practice characterize pay-to-play as legalized corruption.

The city of Chicago and the State of Illinois have a long history of corrupt politics and pay to play. Former Governor Rod Blagojevich, of course, has been indicted and will soon face trial on what are essentially pay to play charges. But Blago wasn’t the first corrupt politician coming from Chicago nor will he be the last. One of Blago’s predecessor was the Republican George Ryan. Ryan was sentenced to 6 1/2 years in prison on federal corruption charges just a few years before Blago.

Robert Grant, the FBI agent in charge of the agency’s Chicago office, has described the Chicago/Illinois special place in the pantheon of political corruption (source same as above):

"If it isn’t the most corrupt state in the United States, it’s certainly one hell of a competitor," Grant said. And Fitzgerald, whose office also prosecuted Blagojevich’s predecessor, said Blagojevich’s "conduct would make Lincoln roll over in his grave."

It’s been that way a long time for lots of reasons. Mob connections, a rapidly developing urban atmosphere where lots of money can be made quickly, a history of disinterested citizenry–all have combined to create this cesspool of corruption and pay to play.

The face for Chicago politics has long been Richard J. Daley who served as mayor for 21 years until his death in 1976. Columnist and writer Mike Ryoko forever captured the picture of Daley in his wonderful book, Boss: Richard J. Daley of Chicago (1971). Boss shows Daley as corrupt, racist, cruel, mean and brutal. I still remember video footage of Daley shouting "Kike" and "Fuck you, you Jew son of a bitch" to Sen. Abraham Ribicoff at the 1968 Democratic National Convention as Ribicoff called out the brutal treatment of the city’s police toward antiwar demonstrators.

If you imagine Orson Welles, who played brilliantly the corrupt policeman in "Touch of Evil" on a larger scale, that would be Daley. Welles in that movie (one of his best performances) even looks like Daley.

Wikipedia describes how Daley’s system worked:

Daley’s chief means of attaining electoral success was his reliance on local precinct captains, who marshaled and delivered votes on a neighborhood-by-neighborhood basis. Many of these precinct captains held patronage jobs with the city, mostly minor posts at low pay. Each ward had a ward leader in charge of the precinct captains, some of whom were corrupt. The notorious First Ward (encompassing downtown, which had many businesses but few residents) was tied to the local mafia or crime syndicate…

Among other things, Daley has been accused of rigging the vote in Chicago to elect JFK. Illinois Racing Board Chairman William S. Miller testified in 1973 that Daley had "induced" him to bribe Illinois Governor Otto Kerner. These accusations followed Daley to his grave. Kerner is another name high in the corruption pantheon. Wikipedia says it best:

Otto Kerner, Jr. (August 15, 1908 – May 9, 1976) was the 33rd Governor of Illinois from 1961 to 1968. He is best known for chairing the National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders (the Kerner Commission) and for accepting bribes.

(emphasis added)

Accepting bribes and kickbacks, forcing people and businesses to make "contributions" so that they could get preferential treatment or even needed services like fire and police protection (Royko’s book is great on this and highly recommended), that’s the Chicago pay to play system.

This is the political system that Barack Obama and his wife grew up in or were molded in. Indeed, Michelle’s daddy was a Democratic precinct captain under Boss Daley, and of course, he also had a nice city job as water plant employee. The Boss always took care of his people. Meanwhile, if you Google both Barack Obama, Rahm Emanuel, and Rod Blago, you’ll find pictures of the three of them looking very chummy and patting each other on the back.

Let’s return to the main question that this diary poses: Has Barack Obama brought Chicago pay to play to Washington, D.C.?

In two specific instances, I believe that one can see at least the lineaments of this happening: 1) Obama’s relationship with Goldman Sachs and 2) his administration’s cozy treatment of BP.

Let’s look at Goldman Sachs first. Most people know that Goldman Sachs was the major contributor (aside from the U. of California SYSTEM (meaning a dozen or so campuses) to Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign. But they were also the main contributor to his Senatorial campaign. And as early as 2006, Robert Rubin (former head of Goldman and of Citibank) invited a Senator to the Rubin-Goldman funded Hamilton Project. At the Hamilton Project (remember Hamilton: "The People are a Great Beast") then Senator, Obama, paid lavish tribute to "my friend, Bob [Rubin] and went on to talk about the need to cut entitlements (meaning Social Security) and the need for more NAFTA-like agreements (making his statements in 2008 that he would reform NAFTA to be complete lies). A video clip of Obama’s neoliberal speech is available here. See also another informative diary by Dr. Kirk Murphy, M.D. and an article entitled "Wall St. Democrats Unveil Plan to Undermine Progressives" by David Sirota.

Recall that our definition of pay to play above indicates money given in exchange for political appointments. Certainly that has been borne out in the case of Obama and Goldman Sachs since his administration is riddled with Goldies. See this diary entitled "A list of Goldman Sachs People In the Obama Administration: Names Attached to the Giant Squid’s Tentacles". His two chief economic advisers, Timothy Geithner and Larry Summers have Goldman-Rubin connections and so do Geithner’s top aides like Mark Patterson.

Then there are top policy people whom you may not have heard about but who hold key positions in the Obama Administration. Like: Lael Brainard, Thomas Donilon, Bill Dudley, Douglas Elmendorf, Diana Farrell, Stephen Friedman, Michael Frohman, Jason Furman,
Anne Fudge, Mark Gallogly, Gary Gensler, Michael Greenstone (revolving door), Robert Hormats, Neel Kashkari, Karen Kornblum, Jacob J. Lew, David A. Lipton, Peter Orszag, Robert D. Reischauer, and Alice Rivlin. For a detailed look at the appointments-connections between Goldman Sachs-Rubin-and their affiliated groups like the Hamilton Project, please see this diary. Matt Taibbi was exactly correct with his image of the giant squid and its tentacles sinking into the Obama administration.

Pay to play, as we see above, means appointees and Goldman has not lacked them in the Obama administration. See also the article by Greg Gordon (McClatchy)"Goldman’s White House Connections Raise Eyebrows". This diary is also helpful. See also, "Obama Packs Debt Commission with Social Security Looters".

Pay to pay can also mean influence used to favor contributors. Recall how differently Obama’s Tim Geithner and the Obama administration treated Goldman Sachs and Lehman Brothers, one of Goldman’s main competitors? Goldman Sachs feasted from the Obama-Geithner bailouts; Lehman was left to starve and withered away.

Here’s how the Wall St. Journal described the situation on July 15, 2009:

Wall Street’s meltdown fueled the most profitable quarter ever at Goldman Sachs Group Inc., which snatched business away from weakened rivals and churned out huge trading gains by revving up risk taking.

With competitors such as Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. and Bear Stearns Cos. gone, and others like Citigroup Inc. flailing, Goldman appears to be pulling off one of the biggest market-share grabs in Wall Street history.

Net income in the second quarter was $3.44 billion, or $4.93 a share — more than Goldman earned in all of 2008, when it was hammered by the financial crisis. Analysts had expected strong earnings, but were surprised by how much the firm exceeded expectations.

The primary earnings driver was wider profit margins on the buying and selling of securities, in part due to fewer competitors.

Goldman’s resurgence, including a 33% jump in money set aside for compensation and benefits in the year’s first half, could invite criticism that it is benefiting too much from the government’s Wall Street rescue.


They also underscore the emergence of a handful of large U.S. financial institutions that are likely to profit mightily from the wreckage left by the financial crisis.

…Goldman’s stock-trading division posted net revenue of $3.2 billion for the quarter, up 59% from the first quarter, and 28% from the quarter ended May 30, 2008.

Goldman also picked up some business from clients that had used competitors in the past. U.S. Bancorp tapped Goldman Sachs as one of its lead underwriters on a stock offering in May, the first time it had used Goldman in that role in more than five years, Dealogic data showed.

The banking firm had used Citigroup and Lehman Brothers, among others, on similar deals.

(emphasis added)

Coincidence? The economic crisis actually helped Goldman Sachs get huge bailouts and squeezed out two of its main competitors? Coincidence that this happened after Goldman Sachs gave so much to Obama and has so many people affiliated with it acting in the Obama administration. Mere coincidence?

A fine interview between Bill Moyers and law Professor William Black over at PBS highlights some of the problems that the Obama administration seems unable and unwilling to come to grips with relating to the financial/economic crisis:

BILL MOYERS: Well, Bill, where are the other investigations? Why have there been no arrests? Why have there been no convictions?

WILLIAM K. BLACK Because we have still Bush’s wrecking crew in charge of the key regulatory agencies. Why are they still in place? They have abysmal records as major causes of this crisis.

BILL MOYERS: You talk about the Bush appointees still being there, but Goldman’s former lobbyist, his treasury secretary, Timothy Geithner’s chief of staff, the head of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, Gary Gensler, who may soon have new power over derivatives, worked for Goldman.

So did the deputy director of the White House National Economic Council, the under Secretary of State is a former Goldman employee. Goldman’s hired Barack Obama’s recent chief counsel from the White House on his defense team. I mean–

WILLIAM K. BLACK Don’t forget Rubin.

BILL MOYERS: Robert Rubin, whose influence is all over the place, who used to be–

WILLIAM K. BLACK It’s his protégés that are in charge of economic policy, under Obama.

BILL MOYERS: So is this administration, which still has some Bush holdovers in it, and now has a lot of Goldman people in it, is this administration going to be able to pass judgment on Goldman Sachs?

WILLIAM K. BLACK Well, so far, they haven’t been able to do it. They can’t even get themselves to use the word fraud.

There’s a huge part that is economic ideology. And neoclassical economists don’t believe that fraud can exist.

Coincidence that not a single person involved in this economic crisis (aside from garden variety criminals like Bernie Madoff) has been sent to jail? Contrast that with the more than 1,000 people who did jail time in the savings and loan crisis (a far smaller crisis) in the 1980′s. Coincidence that Barack Obama’s selection as Attorney General, Eric Holder, is best known for crafting the pardons to fugitive multimillionaire Marc Rich? Coincidence that the DOJ has been sitting on its hands and has no white collar prosecutions up and running on this? That’s an awful lot of coincidences to believe in.

Now let’s turn to BP. Like Goldman Sachs, BP pumped lots of money into the Obama campaign and administration. Indeed, BP gave more to Obama in 2008 than any other candidate and he heads their list of political contributions for the past 20 years. BP flushed even more money to Obama and his party through the Podesta Group, a lobbying/consulting group whose founders have close ties to the President. BP gave the Podesta Group $320,000 in 2008, $320,000 in 2009, and thusfar this year $80,000 as reported by Opensecrets. See also this. One suspects this is but the tip of the iceberg as there are plenty of other groups/individuals to send money through.

Now some here might believe that this is not really a problem since a) Obama also took in lots of money from small contributors and b) it’s only natural since Obama led all candidates in raising money. But not so. Virtually none of those small time contributors wanted to advance their specific business goals, or sought appointments, or wanted to buy influence. It’s a different story with major corporations and businesses as both Republican Senator McCain and Democratic Senator Russ Feingold know. They attempted to do something about the pervasive and harmful influence of political contributions: for this very reason. As to argument b) it is of note that BP has traditionally given to Republicans but they changed that pattern with Obama and made the Democrat their favorite. William Black, the law professor and former senior regulator for the Federal Home Loan Board who cracked down on banking during the Savings & Loan crisis of the 1980′s, made this wise observation that should be kept in mind:

"The highest return on assets" he told Bill Moyers on PBS, "is always a political contribution."

What is troubling about the news surrounding the BP blow out is how the Obama administration and especially Obama’s hand-picked man to head Interior, Ken Salazar has treated BP with kid gloves. The Washington Post has reported that the Obama administration waived environmental impact requirements for BP for its Gulf coast drilling:

The Interior Department exempted BP’s calamitous Gulf of Mexico drilling operation from a detailed environmental impact analysis last year, according to government documents, after three reviews of the area concluded that a massive oil spill was unlikely.

The decision by the department’s Minerals Management Service (MMS) to give BP’s lease at Deepwater Horizon a "categorical exclusion" from the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) on April 6, 2009 — and BP’s lobbying efforts just 11 days before the explosion to expand those exemptions — show that neither federal regulators nor the company anticipated an accident of the scale of the one unfolding in the gulf.

In one assessment, the agency estimated that "a large oil spill" from a platform would not exceed a total of 1,500 barrels and that a "deepwater spill," occurring "offshore of the inner Continental shelf," would not reach the coast. In another assessment, it defined the most likely large spill as totaling 4,600 barrels and forecast that it would largely dissipate within 10 days and would be unlikely to make landfall.

"They never did an analysis that took into account what turns out to be the very real possibility of a serious spill," said Holly Doremus, a law professor at the University of California at Berkeley who has reviewed the documents.

Democracynow reports that the agency within the Obama administrative charged with oversight is little more than a rubber stamp:

Newly-released documents meanwhile show government regulators exempted BP from a comprehensive environmental review of the project that resulted in the spill. The Minerals Management Service granted BP a “categorical exclusion” from a full review before approving the project just over a year ago. In a statement, the Center for Biological Diversity said: “Instead of protecting the public interest by conducting environmental reviews, [the MMS] rubber-stamped BP’s drilling plan, just as it does hundreds of others every year in the Gulf of Mexico.”

Dan Froomkin, in an excellent article over at Huffington Post notes that the Obama administration didn’t listen to warnings from NOAA (the scientific body in charge of overseeing oil drilling) about the dangers of off shore drilling:

National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration officials last fall warned the Department of Interior, which regulates offshore oil drilling, that it was dramatically underestimating the frequency of offshore oil spills and was dangerously understating the risk and impacts a major spill would have on coastal residents.

NOAA is the nation’s lead ocean resource agency, and the warnings came in its response to a draft of the Obama Administration’s offshore oil drilling plans. The comments were Web-published in October by the whistle-blowing group, Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER).

But NOAA’s views were largely brushed aside as Obama went ahead and announced on March 31 that he would open vast swaths of American coastal waters to offshore drilling… .

Froomkin further points out that Obama has failed to replace most of the Bushies in Interior who have been soft on regulations of the oil industry:

Jeff Ruch, the head of the public-employee whistleblowing group, said that as in many other regulatory agencies, Obama political appointees in the Interior Department’s notoriously troubled Minerals Management Service (MMS) have not taken enough steps to reverse the anti-environmental and anti-science policies of the Bush years.

"For the most part, the Obama team is still the Bush team," Ruch told HuffPost, noting that beyond a thin layer of political appointees, offices like MMS are run by managers who were "promoted during the Bush years — In many instances, promoted for basically violating the law. And from what we can tell, their conduct hasn’t changed."

Futhermore, Ruch said, Obama "sees environmental issues as a political bargaining chip."

Obama made the boneheaded statement on April 2, 2010 that modern technology made off shore drilling safe. A video clip of him saying that is widespread on the internet and was shown recently on Jon Stewart’s show. The oil spill began just 18 days later.

Obama on April 2nd reversed 27 years of policy on oil drilling, banned by former President Ronald Reagan,and permitted off shore drilling. Essentially, Obama flip flopped on prior promises and adopted Sarah Palin’s silly “Drill, Baby, Drill” position. His oil policy is worse than Reagan’s!

EVEN AFTER the oil spill, Obama has not said unequivocally that off shore drilling will be banned by him. Instead, he’s imposed a moratorium (for 30 days or so) so his administration “can study the problem”.

So we have seen kid glove treatment and a volte face on both campaign promises relating to off shore drilling and a reversal of 27 years of government policy forbidding it. We’ve also seen Obama make some misleading and un-lawyerlike comments (yet again) to the effect that BP will pick up the entire tab for the oil spill when that is far from certain and history proves otherwise (like in the Exxon Valdez case). See also this diary on these questions.

Coincidence?

I’m not in favor of witch hunts but I do see developing some troubling problems relating to the Obama administration with respect to its cozy relationship with big banks like Goldman Sachs and big oil companies like BP. Why so many people with Goldman connections in this administration? Why differential treatment? Why go soft on regulations in an inherently dangerous business like drilling oil in ocean waters that are more than a thousand feet deep? For that matter, one could also cite the cozy relationship Obama has with Big Pharma and the insurance industries and how he broke his pledge to hold open, public meetings on health care reform and televise them. The Obama administration even denied the meetings had gone on until the New York Times broke that story open published names and details of the meetings.

So, why the lack of openness and transparency from this administration which promised both? Why the unwillingness to enforce laws and regulations? Why the kid’ s glove approach to huge banks, oil companies and huge corporate interests in general? Why the "let’s look forward but not backward" mantra which is the antithesis, after all, of legal education and doctrine as enshrined in the notion of legal precedent?

We don’t need or want a witch hunt. But we need to ask questions. We as a society need to investigate and if necessary prosecute wrongdoing and pay to play just as has been done against Blago and other crooks. We as Democrats also have to ask the same tough questions and apply the same standards that we applied to Bush and his administration to the Democratic Obama administration. Republicans, Democrats and Independents should be looked at and judged equally.

In short, we need Obama and his administration to start living up to its promises of fairness and openness and we citizens interested in good, clean government have to speak up more and demand more of our leaders.

An Open Microphone Reveals Obama’s Candid Thinking

7:40 pm in Uncategorized by fflambeau

So now we know what U.K. Prime Minister Gordon Brown really thinks about pensioners who vote for Labour and object to Euro immigration policies: they’re old and bigoted.

If Obama left his mike open, here’s what his inner thoughts would be.

On Bill Clinton:

Bubba’s old and bigoted.

On Robert Rubin, former Goldman Sachs chief:

Bob’s cool. He even picked me up in his limo and let me valet park it when he took me to that Hamilton Project speech I gave with him back in 2006. Gave me a $20 dollar tip too, more than I made in 6 months of work in that candy ass community organizer gig.

Of course, I had to clean and buff Bob’s bad-ass Lincoln off after the chicken and peas dinner. But my friend Bob’s the Master of the Universe and I enjoyed wearing his Goldie cap that made me look like his chauffeur.

Heck, Bob’s got such a big heart he even lets me ride Air Force One during my presidency.

On Arnie Duncan:

White boys really can’t jump. And that honkie knows jack shit about public schools which is why I made him my Education Secretary. That and because he can’t block my jump shot.

On Eric Holder:

Not that Eric might think of taking decisive, really legal action against anybody who wields power, but maybe we’d better send him my "Let’s Look Forward Not Backward" memo again.

That way, we’ll know for sure that DOJ continues to tread water on criminal charges against Goldman Sachs.

Better have him start drafting some pardons too. That worked for that fugitive financier, what was his name Michelle? Oh yeah–Marc Rich. Bill Clinton’s a Bubba but he sure knew how to stroke the people with money, didn’t he?

Michelle: There was a whole lot of strokin goin on in Bill’s White House and it wasn’t only financiers.

Obama: Right. Eric’s probably still got his pardon drafts on his computer. Bob might need a pardon or two before the dust settles.

On Bernie Sanders:

He’s always got his shorts in a knot about something. Why does he care so much about average people? Doesn’t he realize that they’re just–so average? They got no money. Doesn’t he realize that if they REALLY wanted to improve their lot in life, all they have to do is go to Columbia or Harvard like I did? Damned socialist!

On Goldman Sachs:

We gotta hire more of those dudes in my administration. Even though frogs aren’t big on hoops, I want Fabulous Fab on my team. He’s almost as arrogant as I am.

On Carl Levin:

Better tell him to lay off on the Goldies. Sure they sold shitty deals but we need their not so shitty campaign contributions.

On Rahm:

He trash talks better than anyone this side of Alan Iverson which is why I made him my Chief of Staff. Funny thing about him, though.

Michelle: What’s that baby?

Obama: He’s uncut.

Michelle: And how do you know that, I might ask? What you two boys been up to? You haven’t gone fag on me?

Obama: Don’t worry baby, you’re still the one. You know what I really think about those DADT pansies.

Noticed Rahm’s status in the showers after the last staff b-ball game.

On Jim Bunning:

Old, bigoted, and can’t throw a screwball anymore. He IS the screwball.

On the White House Press Corps:

Old, bigoted and they can’t write. They really need our White House handouts or they’re lost. With their IQ’s that low, we’d better have Gibsie give them memos with more pics and drawings.

The worst of the lot is that old witch Helen. You’d think she’d have learned to hold her tongue given how long she’s covered the White House. Nixon should have had the IRS audit her ass. But I hear he had that fairy queen, J. Edgar look into her life. She goes so far back she interviewed Lincoln, come to think of it.

Then there’s that critical old fart over at PBS but I hear he’s throwing in the towel soon. Lucky for Moyers that he knows better than to waste his time with the losers in the White House press corps.

On Nick Clegg:

If he’s the new Obama what’s that make me? the next Gordon Brown?

A List of Goldman Sachs People in the Obama Government: Names Attached to the Giant Squid’s Tentacles

1:03 am in Uncategorized by fflambeau

At a time when Congressional hearings are set to call testimony from some Goldman Sachs employees, it is vital to understand how widespread that institution’s ties are to the Obama administration. This diary shows the pervasive influence of Goldman Sachs and Goldman created institutions (like the Hamilton Project embedded in the Brookings Institution), employees and influence peddlers in the Obama administration.

While many of the people listed below formerly worked for Goldman Sachs or its offshoots (like the Hamilton Project, including all three of that project’s first Directors) influence can be exerted not only through people but through money, awards, sponsored scholarship, and creation of an agenda favorable to Goldman Sachs (which is where Brookings and the Hamilton Project come in and have proved especially useful to Goldman Sachs).

It is further of note that although Goldman Sachs has been the center of attention especially since Matt Taibbi’s insightful investigative journalism, that I have not been able to find a comprehensive list of the influence of Goldman Sachs in this administration. Recently in the New York Post, for instance, Michelle Malkin wrote a good article called "All the President’s Goldman Men" but she only listed the usual suspects like Larry Summers, Timothy Geithner, Rahm Emanuel, Gary Gensler and Mark Patterson.

But that’s just the tip of the Goldman Sachs iceberg. Here you will find, I believe, the most comprehensive list of people-groups yet available to show how Obama’s administration has really become the Goldman Sachs administration. But I need your help. I suspect there are far more people out there with such ties that I have missed even though I have spent lots of time researching this issue. If you know of other people who should be on this list, please help out and give the details in a comment to this diary.

One further caveat. The Obama administration is not the first administration that Goldman has infiltrated, although it is perhaps the one that has been most completely co-opted from top to bottom. Recall that former Secretary of the Treasury Paulson in the George W. Bush era came from–Goldman Sachs where he was its chief. Recall too that the brilliant, late economist John K. Galbreath has written an entire chapter of a book devoted to the Great Depression and the economic collapse of Wall St. that accompanied it to the role of Goldman Sachs.

Law professor William Black, who participated in actions against individuals in the Savings and Loan collapses decades ago, recently told Bill Moyers recently that:

"The highest return on assets is always a political contribution."

In this spirit we name the first two links between Goldman entities and the Obama administration: they are out of alphabetical order for obvious reasons. All the others are in alphabetical order.

Let’s look at the Goldman Sachs government that we have in place now, that is masked by Barack Obama. Fittingly, we begin with Obama:

OBAMA, BARACK.

Although to my knowledge he has never directly worked for Goldman, he has taken boatloads of their money (an investment repaid many times) and he calls Robert Rubin, the former head of Goldman Sachs "my friend Bob". (See the video clip of then Senator Barack Obama’s address to the Goldman-Rubin funded Hamilton Project in a link below where he uses these words and calls for cuts in entitlements and more NAFTA-type agreements).

Jesse Unruh, the late California politician and political thinker, once called "money the mother’s milk of politics." Certainly, Obama sucked at the teats of Goldman Sachs more than any other politician in recent times. It began for him as little-known Senator from Illinois with a razor- thin resume whose ambitions outshine his accomplishments. Obama’s eloquent, heavily prepped address to the Democratic National Convention caught not only the eyes of the Democratic top brass, but that of the big bankers. As early as the Spring of 2006, Senator Barack Obama was intimately involved with Bob Rubin and Goldman Sachs through his involvement with the Hamilton Project.

Fittingly, Senator Obama was chosen by Rubin and the Hamilton Project to give the inaugural address of the Hamilton Project in April, 2006. An excellent, seminal discussion of the Hamilton Project by Dr. Kirk James Murphy, M.D., can be found here. A video clip of then Senator Barack Obama speaking at the inauguration of the Hamilton Project in April, 2006 can be found here and here (with an excellent discussion) and here. Here Obama heaps lavish praise on Robert Rubin ("my friend Bob") and on the Hamilton Project while setting out its (and his subsequent administration’s agenda) of cuts in entitlements, the need for more NAFTA-type free trade pacts and a pro-big corporation government. In 2006 then, Obama was a Goldie and articulating its desires and policies.

Little wonder then, that Goldman and Rubin heavily funded Obama as a Senator (his biggest campaign contributor) and as a presidential candidate. Goldman Sachs employees (and they were not the floor cleaners) contributed $994,795 to Obama’s presidential bid, almost four times the amount they gave to his Republican opponent, according to OpenSecrets. Over Obama’s entire career, Goldman has been his second biggest contributor, according to OpenSecrets, giving him more than $1,051,000. Goldman not only wanted Obama to win, they paid lots of money to insure that their man would occupy the White House. Again, as William Black noted:

"The highest return on assets is always a political contribution."

Goldman’s 30 pieces of silver investment in Obama reaped them billions of dollars in returns as the TARP bailouts and the subsequent news about Goldman Sachs has shown. So although Obama may never have "worked for" Goldman in the traditional sense, he’s one of Robert Rubin’s boys and on Goldman’s books.

University of Minnesota political scientist Prof. Lawrence Jacobs, described the giant squid’s attachment to the Obama administration:

almost everything that the White House has done has been haunted by the personnel and the money of Goldman . . . as well as the suspicion that the White House, particularly early on, was pulling its punches out of deference to Goldman and its war chest.

BIDEN, JOE.

Is it any wonder that between his service as "Senator Credit Card", his efforts to limit busing for desegregation, and his five draft deferments at the height of the Vietnam War that Joe Biden is attached to one of Goldman’s tentacles? Goldman has been a major campaign contributor to Biden and according to OpenSecrets, Biden in 2007 alone took almost $25,000 from the Robert Rubin related Citigroup (Rubin was its head as well as being a former head of Goldman).

And guess who was the keynote speaker at the Hamilton Project 2010 kickoff event a few days ago (April 20th, 2010) Tuesday morning at the Renaissance Mayflower Hotel? That’s right: Vice President Joe Biden spoke at Goldman Sachs/Robert Rubin’s Rosemary’s Baby. You can see some pics of Biden at the Hamilton Project event along with who else–Robert Rubin–here.

As described by the Huffington Post:

Biden was speaking at the relaunch of the Hamilton Project, a think tank founded by ultimate Wall Street Democrat Robert Rubin to publicly despair about the deficit and other things bankers worry about the most.

Note too that in his address Biden paid tribute to Obama’s bipartisan deficit commission, something that the Hamilton Project and Robert Rubin (and Goldman) have been pushing for years because it really means cuts in entitlements (again, have a look at Sen. Obama’s 2006 speech at the Hamilton Project where he calls for entitlement cuts).

ALTMAN, ROGER.

Interestingly, the man who introduced Joe Biden at the Hamilton Project’s relaunch (described above) was none other than Roger Altman, who is connected to the Hamilton Project.

Altman may not hold down a desk job in the Obama administration–he’s too big a fish for that just as is Robert Rubin–but he is one of those power brokers with all encompassing contacts within the Democratic Party. Altman is a Hamilton Project member, according to Dan Frumkin’s excellent article in the Huffington Post, as well as having served as Assistant Secretary of the Treasury under none other than Mr. Goldman Sachs, Robert Rubin. He is now now Chairman of Evercore Partners, which the Hamilton Project program described as "the most active investment banking boutique in the world." (and the Obama administration is trying to sell itself as one that is getting tough on big banks and Goldman?).

Like so many of the Goldman people, Altman has a touch of scandal/criminality about him. According to Wikipedia, Altman was forced from his position as Assistant Treasury Secretary because of a records keeping scandal.

Altman is a co-author, along with Robert Rubin, of the Hamilton Project’s "From Recession to Recovery to Renewal: An Economic Strategy to Achieve Broadly Shared Growth." Some of Altman’s ties to the Goldman-Rubin funded Hamilton Project can be seen here.

BRAINARD, LAEL.

Brainard is the United States Under Secretary of the Treasury for International Affairs in the administration of President Barack Obama. She is an associate and protege of Mr. Goldman Sachs, Robert Rubin. She has written numerous articles and bookson the joys of outsourcing work overseas.

Brainard also worked at Brookings which has embedded within in Goldman Sachs and Robert Rubin’s Hamilton Project. Goldman was clever in doing this because they hid a conservative thinking, pro business group like a Trojan Horse in what is generally perceived as a liberal think tank.

Like Timothy Geithner, who is her boss, Brainard is a brainy person who had trouble with income tax rules and regulations, thus joining quite a lengthy list of Goldies who ape the law. The Washington Post reported that:

Brainard’s nomination was held up by Republican concerns over allegations that she failed to pay property taxes on time. (What is it with Treasury and tax problems?)

BUFFETT, WARREN.

Speaking of big fish, Warren doesn’t need to work for the US government or for Goldman. But he’s invested billions in Goldman expecting even greater returns. Obama has also admitted in the debates to "pal’in around" with the Sage of Omaha and Buffett is one of Obama’s fundraisers and economic advisers.

For more on Buffett see this written by Michael Winship at Truthout:

On Friday, Susan Pulliam reported on the front page of The Wall Street Journal that, "A Goldman Sachs Group Inc. director tipped off a hedge-fund billionaire about a $5 billion investment in Goldman by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. before a public announcement of the deal at the height of the 2008 financial crisis, a person close to the situation says."

As the Journal notes, the Buffet deal came at a key point in the Wall Street collapse, restoring confidence in the markets and lifting Goldman’s stock from a 40 percent slide to a 45 percent surge. The hedge-fund billionaire in question is Raj Rajaratnam, whose Galleon Group currently is embroiled in one of the biggest insider trading scandals in history: 21, including Rajaratnam, have been charged; 11 already have pled guilty.

(emphasis added)

CLINTON, HILLARY.

Although Barack Obama was the overwhelming favorite of Goldman Sachs to be president in 2008, for he could serve as their Trojan Horse, they were smart enough to hedge their bets, so to speak and back Hillary too. According to the Washington Examiner, Goldman Sachs in 2008 alone gave:

($415,595.63 inflation adjusted), which was itself almost three times as much as Bush received as well.

And of course, it was Hillary’s hubby Bill Clinton who chose ex-Goldman chief Robert Rubin to serve in his White House. Bill, Hillary and Bob Rubin are Washington, D.C. kissing cousins.

CRAIG, GREGORY.

Another example of the revolving door between Goldman Sachs and Obama’s administration. Craig served as Obama’s White House Counsel and after resigning, has taken on a position as Goldman Sach’s chief lawyer in defending against its SEC suit. A former Goldie, Robert Hormats, sits at the top of SEC’s enforcement group too. What a hoot!

Note that Craig is a lawyer and lawyer’s rules of professional responsibility prohibit not only direct conflicts of interest but anything that hints at a conflict of interest.

Here is doubtlessly why Goldman wanted Craig as its top lawyer in the SEC complaint:

Greg Craig, Obama’s first White House counsel, has joined Goldman, we learned this week. He may not have too much pull in the West Wing, which drove him out for hewing too close to Obama’s campaign promises, but as a former insider he will provide valuable intelligence to the world’s largest investment bank.

Read more at the Washington Examiner: http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/blogs/beltway-confidential/Is-Goldman-Obamas-Enron-No-its-worse-91613449.html#ixzz0mHKfS3hl

DONILON, THOMAS.

Thomas Donilon is Deputy National Security Adviser to Barack Obama (despite having a career that is mostly involved with domestic politics). Donilon was a lawyer at O’Melveny and Myers and made almost $4 million representing meltdown clients including Penny Pritzker (of Chicago) and Goldman. This from Michelle Malkin’s article RealClearPolitics. More information is available on Donilon over at Whorunsgov.com.

DUDLEY, BILL.

Joined Goldman in 1986; partner and managing director until 2007. Federal Reserve Bank of New York President since January 2009 (replacing none other than Timothy Geithner, his Goldman compadre). This all from the Wall Street Journal.

ELMENDORF, DOUGLAS.

Elmendorf became Obama’s Director of the Congressional Budget Office in January 2009. Elmendorf previously was the Director of the Hamilton Project; it’s third.

Note too that the first 3 Directors of the Hamilton Project ALL serve in the Obama administration. While other journalists/writers have explored the links between Goldman Sachs and Obama, few have looked at the connection between the Hamilton Project and the Obama administration. Note again that the Hamilton Project was funded by Robert Rubin and Goldman Sachs. Note too that the current director of the Hamilton Project, its 4th since its founding in 2006, is Michael Greenstone. How long will it be before Greenstone goes to the Obama administration, making it a perfect 4 for 4 for Directors of the Goldman funded Hamilton Project? To show that there is a revolving door between the Obama Administration and Goldman/Rubin/Hamilton Project, Greenstone served as of Obama’s chief economic advisers.

EMANUEL, RAHM.

Rahm, of course, is Obama’s Chief of Staff, the very first person Obama selected to be in his administration. Rahm has lengthy and fruitful ties to Goldman, and vice versa. Rahm took in about $75,000 from Goldman Sachs as a Congressman and was on a $3,000 a month retainer from Goldman while he worked as Bill Clinton’s chief fund raiser.

Timothy Carney has explored some of the links between Emanuel and Goldman Sachs:

…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.

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.

McClatchey newspaper’s Greg Gordon, in his article entitled, "Goldman’s White House Connections Raise Eyebrows" also noted how Rahm and Goldman worked together to make money:

One White House insider who knows something about how Wall Street does business is chief of staff Emanuel, who earned millions of dollars in investment banking after he left the Clinton White House. His work for the Chicago-based financial services firm Wasserstein Perella & Co. intersected with Goldman in at least one deal.

In 1999, Emanuel was a key player representing Unicom Corp., the parent of Commonwealth Edison, in forging its merger with Peco Energy Co. to create utility giant Exelon Corp. Goldman was also advising Unicom.

The White House declined immediate comment on that connection.

So how real is the Obama/Democratic party’s supposed new toughness on big banks when the administration’s point guard was on the Goldman payroll and become a multi-millionaire through big banks and Wall St. deals?

FARRELL, DIANA.

Diana Farrell is Deputy Director of the National Economic Council (since January, 2009) in the administration of President Barack Obama. She formerly worked for two years at Goldman Sachs in New York according to Whorunsgov.com.

In 2003, Farrell was the author of a paper, "Perspective on Outsourcing" in which she argued that sending American jobs overseas might be "as beneficial to the U.S. as to the destination country, probably more so." In a book titled “The Economists’ Voice: Top Economists Take on Today’s Problems,” Farrell wrote a chapter titled “U.S. Offshoring: Small Steps to make it Win-Win.” Her chapter, published in 2008, centered on offshoring.

In the Obama administration, Farrell works with a coven of Goldies including Timothy Geithner and Larry Summers, who is her boss.

FRIEDMAN, STEPHEN.

Chairman of Obama’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board.

According to Wikipedia, Friedman worked for much of his career with Goldman Sachs, holding numerous executive roles. He served as the company’s co-chief operating officer from 1987 to 1990, was the company’s co-chairman from 1990 to 1992, and the sole chairman from 1992 to 1994; he still serves on the company board.

Friedman was another Goldie involved in controversy, as many of the Goldies have been in government service, involving his former employer. His actions, like other affiliated with Goldman, show scant respect for rules, regulations or laws.

Wikipedia notes:

Wikipedia notes:

On May 7, 2009 Friedman resigned as Chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York in response to criticism of his December 2008 purchase of $3 million of stock in Goldman Sachs. Friedman, who remains a member of Goldman Sachs’ board, came into violation of Federal Reserve policy when Goldman was converted to a bank holding company in September 2008, thereby placing it under the regulatory authority of the New York Fed. Friedman requested a waiver from this violation when the conversion occurred, which was granted roughly two and a half months later.

FROHMAN, MICHAEL.

Robert Rubin’s Chief of Staff while Rubin served as Secretary of the Treasury and an Obama “head hunter” according to “Rubin Proteges Change Their Tune as They Join Obama’s Team” in the New York Times.

FURMAN, JASON.

Furman served as the second Director of the Hamilton Project after Peter Orszag’s departure for the Obama administration and he in turn left the Hamilton Project in June 2008 to direct economic policy for the Obama Presidential Campaign.

FUDGE, ANNE.

Obama just appointed Fudge to his budget deficit reduction committee. Fudge has been the pr craftsman for some of America’s largest corporations. She sits, according to the Washington Post, as a Trustee of the Brookings Institution within which the Hamilton Project is embedded.

GALLOGLY, MARK.

Gallogly sits on the Hamilton Project’s advisory council. He is also, according to Wikipedia, currently a member of President Barack Obama’s President’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board.

GEITHNER, TIMOTHY.

He’s one of the most documented of all people within the Obama administration while serving as Obama’s Secretary of the Treasury. He was named head of the New York Fed by none other George W. Bush, again perhaps underscoring Gore Vidal’s observation that American is run by one corporate party and it has two wings: Republican and Democratic.

While at the head of the New York Fed, Geithner prior to the crisis not only failed to see storm clouds on the horizon, he also in 2008 ordered the bailed out AIG not to disclose its sweetheart payments to big banks including, you guessed it, Goldman Sachs. Geithner also worked with W’s Treasury Secretary Paulson to fashion the TARP agreements whereby billions were handed out to Wall St.

Geithner is a protoge of both Robert Rubin and Larry Summers.

Like other Goldies, Geithner has had trouble with rules, tax regulations and various. Recall that he had trouble at his confirmation hearings over his tax returns. Whorunsgov sums them up:

At the end of the Clinton administration, Geithner moved to the International Monetary Fund, where he was director of policy development. That period led to a blot on his personal record. The IMF, unlike most employers, does not pay the employer match on Social Security and Medicare taxes. Geithner was responsible for paying those taxes himself. He did not to do so until he was audited in 2005, and even then only paid the back taxes for 2003 and 2004. He did not pay the back taxes for 2001 and 2002 until after Obama tapped him to be Treasury secretary at the end of 2008.

Many of Geithner’s actions profited Goldman Sachs directly or indirectly, such as Geithner’s decision to deny Goldman’s competitor the same treatment he gave Goldman. As Time magazine noted:

[Geithner]Would not grant Lehman Brothers the right to become a bank-holding company — a status given to both Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs just days after Lehman filed for bankruptcy

Lehman Brothers collapsed, leaving Goldman Sachs with fewer competitors and a greater market share.

GENSLER, GARY.

Gensler was a Goldman Sachs partner who is Obama’s Commodity Futures Trading Commission head. Gensler is the guy who as a former Treasury official exempted the $58 trillion credit default market from oversight. Those financial instrumentals played a key role in the global economic downturn and led to billions of dollars in profits for banks like Goldman Sachs.

GREENSTONE, MICHAEL.

Greenstone is the 4th Director of the Hamilton Project. Just as attorney Craig went from advising Obama to defending Goldman Sachs against the SEC complaint, Greenstone has used the revolving door to go from went an economic adviser position to Obama to one of the Goldman Sachs outlets, in this case its think tank embedded in the Brookings Institution and funded by Goldman and Robert Rubin. All 3 previous Directors of the Hamilton Project work in the Obama administration.

HAMILTON PROJECT, THE.

The pro-corporatist think group funded by Goldman Sachs and Robert Rubin and cleverly hidden in the Brookings Institution as their Rosemary’s Baby/Trojan Horse. Espouses cutbacks in entitlements, strict budgetary thinking applied to all social programs (but not the defense department); outsourcing of American jobs overseas; more NAFTA-type agreements. Three of the first 4 Directors of the Hamilton Project serve in the Obama Administration. The fourth went from an economic adviser to Obama to the Hamilton Project.

It might also help to recall that the name "Hamilton Project" is significant. Recall that Alexander Hamilton, after whom the institute was named, had as his most famous dictum that "the people are a great beast." Hamilton espoused a powerful state bank and centralized government and presidency.

Note too that Sen. Barack Obama was the inaugural speaker at the Hamilton Project and lavished praise on "my friend Bob [Rubin]" and called for cuts in entitlements (Social Security) and more NAFTA agreements. This is the same guy who lied to the electorate, then, in union states like Ohio and Pennsylvania during the Democratic primaries when he said "NAFTA needs rethinking." He is firmly and totally behind NAFTA and has done no "rethinking" of it while President and with his party in firm control of Congress.

For more information, see the reading listed below on this subject and the Project’s web site.

HORMATS, ROBERT.

The top economics official at Obama’s State Department, Hormats spent the prior 27 years at Goldman Sachs, including as the Vice Chairman of Goldman’s international arm.

Hormat’s appointment to the Obama administration led Glenn Greenwald to this observation:

A Goldman executive as COO of the SEC’s enforcement division. This is all consistent with the observation of Desmond Lachman — previously chief emerging market strategist at Salomon Smith Barney and IMF deputy director — regarding "Goldman Sachs’s seeming lock on high-level U.S. Treasury jobs," which he cited as but one of the many "parallels between U.S. policymaking and what we see in emerging markets."

Imagine how this will play out. The SEC has lodged a complaint against Goldman Sachs. Goldman’s former Vice President in charge of Business Intelligence sits in the SEC’s enforcement division while Obama’s former top lawyer, White House Counsel Gregory Craig, has gone to defend Goldman Sachs!

KASHKARI, NEEL.

Former Vice President of Goldman Sachs in San Francisco where he where he led Goldman’s Information Technology Security Investment Banking practice. Kashkari served under Treasury Secretary Paulson and was kept on by Obama after his inauguration for a limited period to work on TARP oversight.

KORNBLUH, KAREN.

Sometimes called "Obama’s brain", she serves as Obama’s Ambassador to the OECD. Kornbluh was Deputy Chief of Staff to Mr. Goldman Sachs, Robert Rubin.

LEW, JACOB (AKA "JACK") J.

Lew is the United States Deputy Secretary of State for Management and Resources. According to Wikipedia, Lew sits on the Brookings-Rubin funded Hamilton Project Advisory Board. He also served with Robert Rubin in Bill Clinton’s cabinet as Director of OMB.

Like many affiliates of the Hamilton Project, along with Barack Obama, Lew believes that fiscal discipline needs to be applied to Social Security (not much talk about runaway costs in the military budget). According to the New York Times, Lew has testified that:

“Fiscal discipline is essential to protect Social Security and strengthen Medicare, so that both will be there in the years ahead. Reducing the accumulated federal debt will help us to protect these important programs.” (Congressional testimony in March 2000.)

Also like Robert Rubin, Lew has worked with Citicorp. The New York Times reported (same link as above) that:

As executive vice president of New York University, he tangled with a union representing graduate students who help teach courses.

LIPTON, DAVID A.

According to Paul Krugman, Lipton is at now at Obama’s National Economic Council and the National Security Council. Lipton worked with Larry Summers and Timothy Geithner, again according to Krugman, on the US response to the Asian financial crisis of the 1990′s. MergeFoundations reports that Lipton worked closely with Robert Rubin:

[he] advised and assisted Secretary Rubin on many key aspects of international economic policy.

MINDICH, ERIC.

Eric Mindich, while not officially serving in the Obama administration, is a strong Obama supporter with extensive ties to the President, according to a Ben Smith/Politico article. Mindich is a hedge fund manager and sits on the Advisory Council of the Hamilton Project and has worked at Goldman Sachs. In fact, he was the youngest ever partner with Goldman Sachs at the age of 27.

According to Wikipedia:

Prior to forming Eton Park in 2004, Mindich spent 15 years at Goldman Sachs in two main roles: leading the firm’s equities risk arbitrage business and managing the firm’s equities division. He joined the firm in 1988 in the equities arbitrage department and ran that department from 1992 until 2000.[1] In 1994, at age 27, he became the youngest partner ever in the history of Goldman Sachs.[1] In 2000, he became co-chief operating officer of the equities division and in 2002 became co-head of the equities division and a member of the Goldman Sachs Management Committee. In 2003, Mindich joined the Executive Office as senior strategy officer and chair of the Firmwide Strategy Committee.

Another website, Operational Due Diligence at Checkfundmanager, indicates the following about Mindich:

In March of 2009, Eton Park’s [hedge fund founded by him] assets under management were estimated to be around $13 billion.

An article from April of 2009 lists Mr. Mindich among the “inner circle” of economic advisors to Lawrence H. Summers, who is the current chief economic adviser to President Barack Obama. Mr. Mindich is also listed in another article as being a top level Democrat fundraiser.

…Eric Mindich, founder of Eton Park fund, reportedly supports Barack Obama’s presidential candidacy (2007).

…A February 2005 article rattles off a number of impressive credentials for Eric Mindich, including launching the largest hedge fund in history, graduating summa cum laude from Harvard, becoming the youngest ever partner at Goldman Sachs, and being endorsed by former Secretary of the Treasury Robert Rubin.

ORSZAG, PETER.

Obama’s Budget Director was the founding director of the Hamilton Project, funded by Goldman Sachs and Robert Rubin. Furthermore, Wikipedia indicates that Robert Rubin, Goldman’s ex-head, was one of Orszag’s mentors.

A BBC article notes Orsag’s commitment to Hamilton Project ideals like cutting the budget (mostly by cutting entitlements) and his ties to Goldman Sachs:

Mr Obama has signalled his determination to keep the budget deficit in check by appointing Peter Orszag, the head of the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), to head the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).

It is the OMB, rather than the Treasury, that allocates government spending and estimates the size of future budget deficits.

His appointment could help ease the new president’s relations with Congress.

Peter Orszag is well-known as a fiscal conservative, who is concerned to keep spending and tax cuts in check.

He was one of the first directors of the Hamilton Project, a Brookings think tank initiative backed by Robert Rubin…

The BBC failed to point out that Goldman Sachs also contributed to funding the Hamilton Project, and he was not "one of the first directors of the Hamilton Project" he was its first Director.

PATTERSON, MARK.

former lobbyist for Goldman Sachs who serves under Timothy Geithner as his top deputy and overseer of TARP bailout funds, $10 billion of which went to Goldman.

RATTNER, STEVE.

Ratner is the shady billionaire financier who Obama appointed as his “car czar” and who resigned after it was revealed that his company, the Quadrangle Group, was apparently involved in “pay to play” for a billion dollars or so of New York State pension funds, and was under possible indictment by the New York AG and the SEC, also sits on the Advisory Council of the Goldman funded Hamilton Project.

Rattner is yet another Goldie-Hamilton Project person in trouble with the law. He was the main financial supporter of Harold Ford’s aborted New York Senate run and speculation was that Rattner wanted a Senator to help protect him.

REISCHAUER, ROBERT D.

He was a member of the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission from 2000-2009 and was its vice chair from 2001-2008. He too sits on the Hamilton Project’s advisory board.

From this excellent discussion at "Meet Robert Rubin" here’s more information on Reischauer and his extensive links to Robert Rubin:

Robert Reischauer, another policy insider who penned a memo in 2009 with fellow Brookings Institution elites calling for Obama to take "action to stem the growth of Social Security and Medicare," were recently nominated by Obama to be Social Security Trustees. (The Blahous pick he apparently owed to Senator Mitch McConnell.)

Reischauer has close ties to economic wrecking ball Robert Rubin—the Goldman Sachs chairman who became Clinton Treasury Secretary and pushed through radical deregulatory banking laws, then went to Citigroup to score $120 million for driving his company into the ground. Rubin and Reischauer knew each other at both the Harvard Corporation and the Clinton White House, where Reischauer was director of CBO. Reischauer is on the advisory board of Rubin’s Hamilton Project, and the two most recent CBO directors have come straight from Hamilton.

NOTE: since writing this, it appears the above (and the quote below on Alice Rivkin) comes word for word from an Alternet article by Matthew Skomarovsky found here.

RIVLIN, ALICE.

Obama just named in March Alice Rivlin to his so called deficit reduction commission. Have a look at her background and you’ll see why and that Obama has stacked that commission with people who want cuts in entitlements.

Again, an excellent summary of her Goldman-Brookings (read Hamilton Project) Obama connections:

One of Reischauer’s co-signers of the Brookings memo, Alice Rivlin, is another fox Obama has put in charge of the Social Security henhouse. Former Vice Chair of the Federal Reserve under Greenspan at the peak of the tech bubble, and also a Hamilton Project board member, Rivlin will likely make another great Wall Street ally on the commission. In 2004 Rivlin co-authored (with Obama’s current Office of Management and Budget Director Peter Orszag, among others) a 138-page Brookings report titled "Restoring Fiscal Sanity" advocating $47 billion in entitlement cuts, including an "increase in the retirement age under Social Security" and "more accurate inflation adjustments to Social Security benefits."

Wikipedia also says of her:

She is currently on the board of directors of the New York Stock Exchange.

Wikipedia also notes that she has extensive Brookings Institution connections (within which the Hamilton Project is now embedded) including from 1957–66, 1969–75, 1983–93, and 1999 to the present.

Rivlin is a frequent speaker at the Hamilton Project as shown by this page at the Hamilton Project’s web site; you can see videos of her talks and the subjects of her papers here.

RUBIN, JAMES.

Son of Robert Rubin (see next entry). Served as a headhunter for Obama per the New York Times article, "Rubin Proteges Change Their Tune as They Join Obama’s Team".

RUBIN, ROBERT.

Mr. Goldman Sachs and co-funder, along with Goldman, of the Hamilton Project. Served as the 70th U.S. Sect. of the Treasury under Bill Clinton and spent 26 years at Goldman Sachs becoming its Co-Chairman from 1990-1992. He also served as Chairman of Citigroup. Along with Goldman Sachs, Rubin funded the Hamilton Project embedded in the Brookings Institution. In other words, he embedded within what is perceived as a liberal think tank a Trojan Horse that espouses cutbacks in entitlements (but not Defense budgets), more NAFTA like agreements, outsourcing of jobs overseas and strict budget consciousness applied to health care. Rubin used the same tactic with Barack Obama: choosing an essentially ambitious yet cautious conservative and turning him into a Trojan Horse for his causes and those of Goldman’s/the Hamilton Project’s. Rubin is the de facto President of the United States and he and the Hamilton Project tell Obama and his administration what to do. Obama gets to ride on Air Force One.

According to a recent Politico article:

Behind the scenes, Rubin still wields enormous influence in Barack Obama’s Washington, chatting regularly with a legion of former employees who dominate the ranks of the young administration’s policy team. He speaks regularly to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, who once worked for Rubin at Treasury.

SPERLING, GENE.

Prior to advising Timothy Geithner on bailouts, Sperling was paid the paltry sum of $887,727 by Goldman Sachs for one year of consulting work. Sperling, another acolyte of Robert Rubin’s raked in even more that year, according to William Grieder at the Nation:

[he was paid in addition] $480,051 as a director of the Philadelphia Stock Exchange, plus $250,000 for his quarterly briefings to two hedge funds, plus the speaking gigs [$158,000] (including an appearance before the Stanford Group in Houston subsequently charged with running a Ponzi scheme). Meantime, his day job at the Council on Foreign Relations paid $116,653. A busy, busy wonk.

STORCH, ADAM.

Storch worked for Goldman Sachs for 5 years reaching the position of Vice President in the Business Intelligence Group. He is Obama’s Managing Executive of the Security and Exchange Commission’s Division of Enforcement.

SUMMERS, LARRY.

It didn’t take Larry Summers long to land a big time job after he crashed and burned as Harvard’s President. He sits at Obama’s right hand as Obama’s chief economic adviser and head of the National Economic Counsel. Summers’s boss at Goldman was non other than Robert Rubin, former co-Chairman of Goldman and also former head of Citicorp.

Summers has reaped nearly $2.8 million in speaking fees to banks and institutions he is now supposed to be helping to regulate and oversee.

Goldman Sachs paid him $135,000 for a single speech he gave in April, 2008, a very good investment repaid many times to Goldman.

>CONCLUSION.

Although a lot of work and research was put into this list, I am sure I missed many people. But it gives the most comprehensive look ever published at how extensive the Goldman Sachs ties are in the Obama administration and the revolving door between the two (See attorney Craig’s description above).

It also shines light on a subject that has virtually received no mainstream media attention: the importance of the Hamilton Project (funded by Robert Rubin and Goldman Sachs) as the policy voice for their pro-corporate interests. While Matt Taibbi has dissected Goldman, no journalist has looked at the Hamilton Project (Taibbi misses it too) despite the fact that all three of its first directors serve now in the Obama administration. Its current director, its fourth, worked as an economic adviser to Obama Administration and at MIT. It formulate the pro-big business that Goldman wants and spreads it through academia and the Obama administration.

Robert Rubin and Goldman Sachs cleverly disguished their Rosemary’s baby, the Hamilton Project, within the essentially liberal Brookings Institution. Lots of journalists (including the BBC) have been misled by this, thinking that if it comes out of Brookings, it must be liberal or even progressive. Discussing Peter Orszag, the BBC made this blunder:

He was one of the first directors of the Hamilton Project, a Brookings think tank initiative backed by Robert Rubin which aimed to combine fiscal responsibility with progressive politics.

(emphasis added)

Not so! The clear message from the Hamilton Project is this:

1) entitlements must be cut, including Social Security;
2) more jobs must be outsourced overseas;
3) more NAFTA-type agreements must be drafted and entered into;
4) strict budgetary policies must be applied to entitlements and especially health care "reform" (whereas the defense department is skirted).

One only has to look at the Hamilton Project, at Obama’s speech to that group in April, 2006, and the numerous articles and books that they have peddled to see that their outlook is overwhelmingly corporatist and pro-big business. It is, then, ant-iprogressive not liberal and certainly not progressive.

RECOMMENDED FURTHER READING:

1. Greg Gordon (McClatchy Newspapers), "Goldman’s White House Connections Raise Eyebrows" April 21, 2010.

2. Fflambeau, "With the Obama Administration Infested With Goldman Sachs People, How Real is the Obama/Democratic Attack on Big Banks" FDL Diary, April 21, 2010.

3. "More Investigations of Goldman Sachs, A Double-Edge Swords for Obama and Democrats"

4. "Meet Robert Rubin" at MyOpera/Personal Finance Blog

5. Paul Street’s article showing that Obama held corporatist ideas long before elected and his indebtedness to the interests of big business.

6. Matthew Skomarovsky, "Obama Packs Debt Commission with Social Security Looters", March 28, 2010 at Alternet.

ESSENTIAL READING ON THE HAMILTON PROJECT AND ITS TIES TO THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION:

1. Kirk James Murphy, M.D. "The Hamilton Project: Same Corporatist Whine In New DLC Vessels." THE seminal article on the Hamilton Project which also features a video clip of then Senator Barack Obama talking about "my friend, Bob [Rubin]" and espousing cuts in entitlements and the "need" for more free trade pacts like NAFTA.

2. Fflambeau, "Obama’s ‘Smoking Gun’: His Hamilton Project Speech Shows His Links to Goldman, Entitlement Cuts, Part 1.

3. Fflambeau, "Obama’s ‘Smoking Gun’: His Hamilton Project Speech Shows His Links to Goldman, Entitlement Cuts, Part 2".

4. Another source for Obama’s Hamilton Project speech of April 2006. Contains video clip.

5. James Kirk Murphy, M.D., "Remember the Hamilton Project?" Dr. Murph’s latest look at the Hamilton Project.

6. David Sirota, "Wall Street Democrats Unveil Plan to Undermine Progessives", April 5, 2006.

44 Congresspeople Call for DOJ Criminal Investigation of Goldman Sachs: Join in the Fight!

8:06 pm in Uncategorized by fflambeau

Just a few days ago, 18 Congresspeople led by Rep. Marcy Kaptur, D-Ohio, called for a criminal investigation of Goldman Sachs. That number has now swollen to 44, including Bart Stupak!

Note that although the SEC has filed a civil action (read it here) against Goldman Sachs it has no authority to take criminal action whereas the Department of Justice, headed by Eric Holder does. So too do attorneys general of the various states.

If you are an investor who lost money in one of Goldman’s schemes, or a private lawyer representing such a person, you can file your own civil case against Goldman Sachs/Paulson and don’t have to wait for anyone (see the discussion below at the Note).

Everyone else can join in the call for a criminal investigation of Goldman Sachs for its shady (and likely criminal-fraud) actions. The Progressive Change Campaign Committee has a petition allowing you as "citizen signer" to join in their campaign to have Eric Holder and the Justice Department investigate Goldman Sachs for criminal wrongdoings. To sign the form, go here.

The same web site (same link too) has the full letter from Rep. Kaptur demanding a DOJ investigation of Goldman Sachs. Since it is a matter of public record, here it is in its entirety:

The Honorable Eric Holder
United States Attorney General
U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, DC 20530-0001

Dear Attorney General Holder:

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced on Friday, April 16, 2010, that it had filed a securities fraud action against the Wall Street company Goldman Sachs & Co (GS & Co.) and one of its employees for making materially misleading statements and omissions in connection with a synthetic collateralized debt obligation (“CDO”) that GS & Co. structured and marketed to investors. The SEC alleges that:

1.

This synthetic CDO, ABACUS 2007- AC1, was tied to the performance of sub-prime residential mortgage-backed securities (“RMBS”) and was structured and marketed by GS & Co. in early 2007 when the United States housing market and related securities were beginning to show signs of distress. Synthetic CDOs like ABACUS 2007-AC1 contributed to the recent financial crisis by magnifying losses associated with the downturn in the United States housing market.
2.

GS & Co. marketing materials for ABACUS 2007-AC1 – including the term sheet, flip book and offering memorandum for the CDO – all represented that the reference portfolio of RMBS underlying the CDO was selected by ACA Management with experience analyzing credit risk in RMBS. Undisclosed in the marketing materials and unbeknownst to investors, a large hedge fund, Paulson & Co. Inc. (“Paulson”), with economic interests directly adverse to investors in the ABACUS 2007-AC1 CDO, played a significant role in the portfolio selection process. After participating in the selection of the reference portfolio, Paulson effectively shorted the RMBS portfolio it helped select by entering into credit default swaps (“CDS”) with GS & Co. to buy protection on specific layers of the ABACUS 2007-AC1 capital structure.
3.

In sum, GS & Co. arranged a transaction at Paulson’s request in which Paulson heavily influenced the selection of the portfolio to suit its economic interests, but failed to disclose to investors, as part of the description of the portfolio selection process contained in the marketing materials used to promote the transaction, Paulson’s role in the portfolio selection process or its adverse economic interests.

As the SEC notes, financial manipulations such as this contributed to the near collapse of the U.S. financial system and cost American taxpayers hundreds of billions of dollars. On the face of the SEC filing, criminal fraud on a historic scale seems to have occurred in this instance. As an ever growing mountain of evidence reveals, this case is neither unique nor isolated.

If both global and domestic confidence in the integrity of the U.S. financial system is to be regained, there must be confidence that criminal acts will be vigorously pursued and perpetrators punished.

While the SEC lacks the authority to act beyond civil actions, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has the power to file criminal actions against those who commit financial fraud. We ask assurance from you that the U.S. Department of Justice is closely looking at this case and similar cases to further investigate and prosecute the criminals involved in this, and other financially fraudulent acts. Furthermore, if the DOJ is not currently looking into this particular case, we respectfully ask you to ensure that the U.S. Department of Justice immediately open a case on this matter and investigate it with the full authority and power that your agency holds. The American people both demand and deserve justice in the matter of Wall Street banks whom the American taxpayers bailed out, only to see unemployment and housing foreclosures rise.

This matter is of deep importance to us. As you may know, H.R. 3995, the Financial Crisis of 2008 Criminal Investigation and Prosecution Act, has been introduced, which authorizes you to hire more prosecutors, Director Mueller of the Federal Bureau of Investigation to hire 1,000 more agent as well as additional forensic experts, and Chair Mary Shapiro of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to hire more investigators to continue to pursue justice and route out the criminals in our financial system. Part of financial regulatory reform should include removing the criminals and crafting a system that supports those who follow the law.

We in Congress stand ready to support you in protecting the American taxpayers from financial crimes such as the fraud that the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has charged Goldman Sachs with committing. We ask that you take up this case, and others, to pursue justice for the American people, to put criminals in jail, and seek to restore the integrity of our nation’s financial system.

Sincerely,

Rep. Kaptur OH_09

The number of Congresspeople signing up to support Kaptur’s call for criminal action has snowballed from 18 to 44. Bart Stupak (yes, that Bart Stupak) is on board. Other notable representatives calling for a criminal investigation of Goldman Sachs include Rep. Grijalva, AZ_07; Rep. Ellison, MN_05; Rep. Stark, CA_13; Rep. Grayson, FL_08; and, Rep. Baldwin, WI_02.

Here’s a complete list of the congresspeople calling for this action:

Rep. Kaptur OH_09
Rep. Stupak, MI_01
Rep. Melancon, LA_03
Rep. Barrow, GA_12
Rep. Schauer, MI_07
Rep. Perriello, VA_05
Rep. Markey, CO_04
Rep. Heinrich, NM_01
Rep. McDermott, WA_07
Rep. Watson, CA_33
Rep. Carney, PA_10
Rep. Grijalva, AZ_07
Rep. Ellison, MN_05
Rep. Lewis, GA_05
Rep. Sutton, OH_13
Rep. Inslee, WA_01
Rep. Stark, CA_13
Rep. Honda, CA_15
Rep. Salazar, CA_03
Rep. Tsongas, MA_05
Rep. Grayson, FL_08
Rep. Loebsack, IA_02
Rep. Filner, CA_51
Rep. Jackson Jr., IL_02
Del. Holmes Norton, DC
Rep. Napolitano, CA_38
Rep. Hinchey, NY_22
Rep. Welch, VT
Rep. Holt, NJ_12
Rep. Fudge, OH_11
Rep. DeFazio, OR_04
Rep. Capuano, MA_08
Rep. Pascrell, NJ_08
Rep. Michaud, ME_02
Rep. Cohen, TN_09
Rep. Braley, IA_01
Rep. Pingree, ME_01
Rep. Speier, CA_12
Rep. Schakowsky,IL_09
Rep. Jackson-Lee, TX_18
Rep. Baldwin, WI_02
Rep. Lee, CA_09
Rep. Doyle, PA_14
Rep. Burgess, TX_26

If your congressperson isn’t on the list, pick up the phone and do something about it!

My only quibble (as a lawyer) with the call for action is that it doesn’t also call for an investigation of Paulson, the billionaire hedge fund owner who approached Goldman Sachs with the idea and who shorted the market. He could likely be charged (by an aggressive prosecutor) with at least criminal conspiracy, criminal conspiracy to defraud etc, since in law, the definition of a conspirator is so nebulous. All he would have had to do is to take one step to further a criminal-fraudulent action and Paulson apparently did much more than that!

The New York Times in a recent article noted that Goldman and other Wall St. kingpins could soon find themselves on the receiving end of investor lawsuits:

The S.E.C.’s action could also hit Wall Street where it really hurts: the wallet. It could prompt dozens of investor claims against Goldman and other Wall Street titans that devised and sold toxic mortgage investments.

On Saturday, several European banks that lost money in the deal said they were reviewing the matter. They could try to recoup the money from Goldman.

…“Any investor who bought these C.D.O.’s and lost a significant amount of money is probably looking at their investment and wanting to know: what were the details behind the sale?” said William Tanona, an analyst at Collins Stewart.

(emphasis added)

SPECIAL NOTE TO GOLDMAN INVESTORS & ALL LAWYERS:

If you invested money in Goldman or through one of the packages that it put together with Paulson, or if you are a lawyer and represent someone like this, please strongly considering filing your own action against Goldman Sachs AND Paulson. You don’t have to wait for others to do it. Two shareholders of Goldman Sachs have already done this. Most states have very broad conspiracy and fraud statutes plus RICO (which allows treble damages) and unfair and deceptive trade practices (which also usually allow for treble damages) which can be used against both Goldman Sachs, its leaders and against Paulson and his company. I am amazed so few people have done this. The action can be filed in any federal court. Imagine having Goldman/Paulson/Blankfein in the dock in a jury trial!

YOU DON’T HAVE TO WAIT FOR ERIC HOLDER & THE OBAMA DOJ (because in my belief they will do NOTHING since Goldman Sachs long ago bought off Obama and his party and Obama and the Democrats want more $$ out of them).

Remember too that none other than Warren Buffett invested $5 billion in Goldman Sachs at the height of the 2008 financial crisis. Obama has admitted to "pal’in around" with uber-billionaire Buffett. Obama is also a good friend of "my friend Bob", none other than Robert Rubin, former head of Goldman Sachs. (See Dr. Kurt Murphy’s diary running on this subject here at FDL). Obama is smart enough to know that he shouldn’t bite his master’s hands that feed him: namely, Goldman Sachs, Robert Rubin, and Warren Buffett.

Lawyers can use the SEC complaint (found here) against Goldman Sachs as the template for your own lawsuit which can be based on several causes of action including: breach of fiduciary duty; fraud; criminal fraud; breach of criminal statutes; breach of SEC rules; RICO; unfair and deceptive trade practices, etc. At least two private lawsuits have been filed against Goldman Sachs over this matter.

With The Obama Administration Infested with Goldman Sachs People, How Real is the Obama/Democratic Attack on Big Banks?

9:30 pm in Uncategorized by fflambeau

The Obama administration is infested with people with ties to Goldman Sachs. Goldman was Obama’s biggest campaign contributor ($994,795) in 2008 and before that as a candidate to the Senate. Rahm took in $80,000 from Goldman Sachs as a Congressman and was on a $3,000 a month retainer from Goldman while he worked as Bill Clinton’s chief fund raiser. So how real is the Obama/Democratic party’s supposed new toughness on big banks?

Michelle Malkin in an excellent article at the New York Post writes that Obama’s administration is so infested with Goldies that:

The White House can no more disown Government Sachs than Obama can disown Chicago politics.

Malkin rightly questions the timing of Obama administration’s supposed new toughness on Goldman Sachs (just months before the November elections). It’s clear that not only the Obama administration but the Gordon Brown government in the U.K. realize that average citizens overwhelmingly are disgusted with big, predatory banks and their practices and that both Brown and now Obama want to steal some of that fire to use it in upcoming elections. The Democrats are even trying to raise money off of their new found toughness as Malkin documents:

Obama is headed to Wall Street tomorrow to demand "financial regulatory reform" — just as the US Securities and Exchange Commission has filed civil suit against Goldman Sachs for mortgage-related fraud.

Question the timing? Darn tootin’.

As the New York Post reported Tuesday, the Democratic National Committee immediately bought sponsored Internet ads on Google that direct Web surfers who type in "Goldman Sachs SEC" to Obama’s fund-raising site.

Malkin also lists some of the top people in the Obama administration with deep ties to Goldman Sachs. They include:

*Gary Gensler, a Goldman Sachs partner who is Obama’s Commodity Futures Trading Commission head. Gensler is the guy who as a former Treasury official exempted the $58 trillion credit default market from oversight. Those financial instrumentals played a key role in the global economic downturn and led to billions of dollars in profits for banks like Goldman Sachs.

*Rahm Emanuel (see above), Mr. Sleeze personified who made millions as an investment banker.

*Mark Patterson, former lobbyist for Goldman Sachs who serves under Timothy Geithner as his top deputy and overseer of TARP bailout funds, $10 billion of which went to Goldman.

*Larry Summers, Obama’s chief economic adviser and head of the National Economic Counsel. Summers’s boss at Goldman was non other than Robert Rubin, former co-Chairman of Goldman and also former head of Citicorp (and I believe, the real POTUS while Obama is merely his spokesman). Summers has reaped nearly $2.8 million in speaking fees to banks and institutions he is now supposed to be regulating. Goldman Sachs paid him $135,000 for a single speech he gave in April, 2008, a very good investment repaid many times to Goldman.

*Timothy Geithner is also a Robert Rubin protoge. Geithner, of course, headed the New York Fed prior to the crisis and not only saw no storm clouds on the horizon, he also in 2008 ordered the bailed out AIG not to disclose its sweetheart payments to big banks including, you guessed it, Goldman Sachs.

But as good as Malkin’s article is, she doesn’t provide the full details of what has been called "Government Sachs". As of June, 2009, for instance, Goldman had more than 30 ex-government officials working as registered lobbyists including former Democratic House Majority Leader Richard Gephardt (D-Mo.) to represent its interests on issues related to TARP, according to Mother Jones.

Here are some other key Goldies in the Obama administration (you readers can help me fill out this list by providing names of others):

*Stephen Friedman, Chairman of Obama’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board. According to Wikipedia, Friedman worked for much of his career with Goldman Sachs, holding numerous executive roles. He served as the company’s co-chief operating officer from 1987 to 1990, was the company’s co-chairman from 1990 to 1992, and the sole chairman from 1992 to 1994; he still serves on the company board.

Friedman was involved in controversy, as many of the Goldies have been in government service, involving his former employer. Wikipedia notes:

On May 7, 2009 Friedman resigned as Chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York in response to criticism of his December 2008 purchase of $3 million of stock in Goldman Sachs.Friedman, who remains a member of Goldman Sachs’ board, came into violation of Federal Reserve policy when Goldman was converted to a bank holding company in September 2008, thereby placing it under the regulatory authority of the New York Fed. Friedman requested a waiver from this violation when the conversion occurred, which was granted roughly two and a half months later.

*Neel Kashkari, former Vice President of Goldman Sachs in San Francisco where he where he led Goldman’s Information Technology Security Investment Banking practice. Kashkari served under Treasury Secretary Paulson and was kept on by Obama after his inauguration for a limited period to work on TARP oversight.

*Diana Farrell, Diana Farrell is a Deputy Director of the National Economic Council in the administration of President Barack Obama. She formerly worked for Goldman Sachs in New York.

*Karen Kornbluh, sometimes called "Obama’s brain" is Obama’s Ambassador to the OECD. Kornbluh was Deputy Chief of Staff to Mr. Goldman Sachs, Robert Rubin.

*Adam Storch, who worked for Goldman Sachs for 5 years reaching the position of Vice President in the Business Intelligence Group , is Obama’s Managing Executive of the Security and Exchange Commission’s Division of Enforcement.

*Robert Hormats, the top economics official at Obama’s State Department, who spent the prior 27 years at Goldman Sachs, including as the Vice Chairman of Goldman’s international arm.

*Gene Sperling, prior to advising Timothy Geithner on bailouts, Sperling was paid the paltry sum of $887,727 by Goldman Sachs for one year of consulting work. Sperling, another acolyte of Robert Rubin’s raked in even more that year, according to William Grieder at the Nation:

[he was paid in addition] $480,051 as a director of the Philadelphia Stock Exchange, plus $250,000 for his quarterly briefings to two hedge funds, plus the speaking gigs [$158,000] (including an appearance before the Stanford Group in Houston subsequently charged with running a Ponzi scheme). Meantime, his day job at the Council on Foreign Relations paid $116,653. A busy, busy wonk.

*Peter Orszag, Obama’s Budget Director was the founding director of the Hamilton Project, funded by Goldman Sachs and Robert Rubin. Wikipedia indicates that Robert Rubin, Goldman’s ex-head, was one of Orszag’s mentors.

*Jason Furman served as the second Director of the Hamilton Project after Peter Orszag’s departure for the Obama administration and he in turn left the Hamilton Project in June 2008 to direct economic policy for the Obama Presidential Campaign.

*Douglas Elmendorf replaced Furman as Director of the Hamilton Project and he in turn became Obama’s Director of the Congressional Budget Office in January 2009.

Note that the first 3 Directors of the Hamilton Project ALL serve in the Obama administration–while other journalists/writers have explored the links between Goldman Sachs and Obama, few have looked at this connection. Note again that the Hamilton Project was funded by Robert Rubin and Goldman Sachs. Note too that the current director of the Hamilton Project, its 4th since its founding in 2006, is Michael Greenstone. How long will it be before Greenstone goes to the Obama administration, making it a perfect 4 for 4 for Directors of the Goldman funded Hamilton Project?

*Barack Obama. Obama really owes his career to Goldman Sachs which was not only his biggest financial contributor when he ran for the presidency but also his biggest contributor when he ran for the Senate. Obama was essentially bought out by Goldman Sachs former head Robert Rubin as early as 2006. You can witness then Senator Obama paying lavish tribute to "my friend Bob [Rubin]" when the Rubin-Goldman Sachs sponsored Hamilton Project opened its doors as an embedded neoliberal think tank within the Brookings Institution. A video clip of Obama’s speech along with an excellent discussion of his ties to Goldman Sachs can be found at this FDL diary.

There is considerable evidence (including the above video clip of Obama himself speaking) to indicate that Rubin-Goldman Sachs hand selected Obama as a kind of spokesman for its unpopular causes and funded him as both a Senatorial and presidential candidate. See, for instance, Paul Street’s brilliant "Obama, As Predicted" essay. And David Sirota’s article on the founding of the Hamilton Project here. Another helpful FDL diary on Obama and the Hamilton Project (and links to Goldman) can be found here.

Obama, then, was a kind of "stealth candidate" or Trojan Horse, if you will: posing as a liberal-progressive, but in reality ready to advance Goldman’s financial and commercial interests which are anything but progressive. For more on Obama’s ties to the Hamilton Project and Robert Rubin/Goldman Sachs see this diary.

With all of these connections between Goldman Sachs and the Obama administration, including Obama himself, is there any doubt that the civil suit (note: the Obama administration has failed to bring a criminal case against the Goldman despite the urgings of Cong. Marcia Kaptur and 17 other Congresspeople) is anything but window dressing before the November election designed to fool the American people once again into thinking that Obama is some kind of populist-progressive?

Once again, Michelle Malkin gets it right in her revealing article, "All the President’s Goldman Men":

As Obama harangues Wall Street to clean up its house, all the president’s Goldman Sachs men have their feet on the coffee table at his.

NOTES:

1. If you know of other Goldies in the Obama adminstration, I would very much apreciate it if you would please provide their names/positions in your comments. Thanks in advance since I’m trying to compile a list! I have not found a complete/thorough one anywhere.

2. Michael Moore reports the following Congressman as behind Cong. Kaptur’s request for a criminal investigation of Goldman Sachs:

The following House Democrats have signed on to Kaptur’s letter: Jim McDermott (Wash.), Diane Watson (Calif.), Chris Carney (Pa.), Raul Grijalva (Ariz.), Keith Ellison (Minn.), John Lewis (Ga.), Charlie Melancon (La.), Tom Perriello (Va.), Betty Sutton (Ohio), Jay Inslee (Wash.), Pete Stark (Calif.), Mike Honda (Calif.), John Salazar (Colo.), Niki Tsongas (Mass.), Alan Grayson (Fla.), David Loebsack (Iowa) and Bob Filner (Calif.).

3. Since this diary was written, McClatchy Newspapers has an excellent article up written by Greg Gordon called "Goldman’s White House Connections Raise Eyebrows". It is the lead story over at the Huffingtonpost.

Gordon writes this on Rahm Emanuel and his lucrative work that included cooperating with Goldman Sachs on one multimillion dollar deal:

One White House insider who knows something about how Wall Street does business is chief of staff Emanuel, who earned millions of dollars in investment banking after he left the Clinton White House. His work for the Chicago-based financial services firm Wasserstein Perella & Co. intersected with Goldman in at least one deal.

In 1999, Emanuel was a key player representing Unicom Corp., the parent of Commonwealth Edison, in forging its merger with Peco Energy Co. to create utility giant Exelon Corp. Goldman was also advising Unicom.

The White House declined immediate comment on that connection.

The same article reports repeated and continuous contact between the head of Goldman Sachs, Lloyd Blankfein, and Obama and key figures in his administration:

According to White House visitor logs, Blankfein was among the business leaders who attended an Obama speech on Feb. 13, 2009, and he also joined more than a dozen bank CEOs in a meeting with Obama on March 27, 2009.

Blankfein also was supposed be among the CEOs who met with Obama in December, but he and two others phoned in from New York, blaming inclement weather.

He and his wife, Laura, were listed on the logs among 438 presidential guests at the Kennedy Center Honors the previous week.

The logs also indicate that Blankfein met twice in 2009, on Feb. 4 and Sept. 30, with Summers, who was undersecretary of the Treasury Department during the Clinton administration when it was headed by Robert Rubin, a former Goldman CEO.

University of Minnesota political scientist Lawrence Jacobs in the same article described the incestuous relationship between Goldman Sachs and the Obama administration:

"almost everything that the White House has done has been haunted by the personnel and the money of Goldman . . . as well as the suspicion that the White House, particularly early on, was pulling its punches out of deference to Goldman and its war chest.

The McClatchy newspaper article is well worth reading in its entirety even though it does not begin to mention all of the people from Goldman Sachs embedded in Obama’s administration.