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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.

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.

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.

William Jennings Obama: Faux Populist Backs Ben Bernanke

7:06 pm in Uncategorized by fflambeau

Despite sounding like William Jennings Bryan briefly in Ohio, Williams Jennings Obama backs Ben Bernanke. Even the Wall St. Journal saw through William Jennings Obama’s ruse in Ohio; in a recent, story the WSJ published they see Obama’s words as just a campaign rhetoric designed to tap into the populist sentiments of the nation. Aside from one very misguided diarist here at FDL, few people are buying into Obama’s overnight conversion to populism for the following reasons:

1. Despite attacking "fat cat bankers" in a 60 Minutes interview in December, Obama’s administration almost simultaneously was working to weaken financial regulatory legislation. Robert Kuttner pointed this out in a superb interview with Bill Moyers on Bill Moyer’s Journal of December 18th:

ROBERT KUTTNER: I was appalled. I was just appalled because think of the timing. On Thursday and Friday of last week, the same week when the president finally gives this tough talk on "60 Minutes," a very feeble bill is working its way through the House of Representatives and crucial decisions are being made. And where is the President? I mean, there was an amendment to put some teeth back in the provision on credit default swaps and other kinds of derivatives. And that went down by a handful of votes. And to the extent that the Treasury and the White House was working that bill, at all, they were working the wrong side. There was a there was a provision to exempt foreign exchange derivatives from the teeth in the bill. That–

MATT TAIBBI: Foreign exchange derivatives are what caused the Long Term Capital Management crisis–

ROBERT KUTTNER: Sure.

MATT TAIBBI: A tremendous problem.

BILL MOYERS: Ten or 12 years ago, right?

MATT TAIBBI: Right.

ROBERT KUTTNER: Yeah. And, Treasury was lobbying in favor of that. There was a provision in the bill to exempt small corporations, not so small, I believe at $75 million and under, from a lot of the provisions of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act requiring honest accounting. Rahm Emanuel personally was lobbying in favor of that.

BILL MOYERS: So you had the Treasury and the White House chief of staff arguing on behalf of the banking industry?

ROBERT KUTTNER: Right. Right. And so here’s the president two days later giving a tough speech. Why wasn’t he working the phones to toughen up that bill and, you know, walk the talk?

Obama seldom "walks the talk". With Obama, words are cheap, you have to watch what he does and often that’s 180 degrees different from what he talks about.

2. Obama has surrounded himself with "fat cat bankers". He’s selected and promoted them. Rahm Emanuel made millions as an investment banker with Wasserstein Perella (now Dresdner Kleinwort), where he worked from 1998 until 2002:

In 1999, he (Rahm) became a managing director at the firm’s Chicago office. Emanuel made $16.2 million in his two-and-a-half-year stint as a banker, according to Congressional disclosures.

Who selected Rahm as his Chief of Staff? Obama.

Who promoted W’s pick as the New York Fed head to Secretary of the Treasury? Obama selected and continues to support Timothy Geithner. Who selected as his chief economic adviser one of the chief architects of financial deregulation? Obama chose and backs Larry Summers.

Whose administration is riddled with Goldman Sachs’ bankers? Obama’s. Which institution was the leading financial supporter of Obama’s senate and presidential campaigns? Goldman Sachs. Which banking institution benefited most from bailouts under Obama? Goldman Sachs. Who does Obama refer to when he says "My friend, Bob". He’s talking about Robert Rubin, ex head of Goldman and Citigroup. Which banker chose then Senator Obama to give the opening speech at the Goldman Sachs funded Hamilton Project? Robert Rubin.

Here’s Matt Taibbi on the Robert Rubin-Goldman Sachs connection:

"[Bob] Rubin probably more than any other person was responsible for the financial crisis by deregulating the economy [while] in the White House. And he had a major role in helping destroy one of the world’s biggest companies in Citigroup. He has one of the worst track records you can find, but he was basically the guy who was the architect of the entire Obama policy. Obama put him in charge of everything."

On the very day he was elected, who brought in a Wall St. friendly team headed by former Citicorps executive Michael Froman? Obama did.

Name another billionaire banker who gave megabucks to Obama and also acts as a trustee of the Hamilton Project? Steven Rattner. Who did Obama pick for as his "Car czar" despite no experience in the automobile sector? Steven Rattner. Who resigned due to an investigation into a corporation he formed that is being investigated for skimming New York state retirement funds? Steven Rattner. Steven Rattner.

3. Who supports Ben Bernanke? Originally, George W. picked Bernanke. But after Sen. Russ Feingold and Sen. Barbara Boxer came out opposing Bernanke’s reappointment as Fed chief, who came out in support of Bernanke? First, Obama’s stalking horse, Harry Reid, next Chris Dodd and Sen. Judd Gregg (remember this is the same cretin Republican that Obama wanted as his Commerce Secretary?). Now, Obama himself and all of the King’s men:

The White House deployed its top guns this weekend to lobby on behalf of Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, enlisting Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, National Economic Council Chair Larry Summers and Senior Adviser David Axelrod in a day-long full-court press of calling and contacting Senators and their staffs in an effort to make sure the re-confirmation of the Fed Chairman doesn’t fail.

The latest round of appeals by the administration follow a series of check-in calls by President Obama himself to review the status of the Bernanke re-confirmation. The President has said he is confident the vote is on schedule and will result in re-confirmation of Bernanke.

The Bernanke reconfirmation is being pitched as a vote in favor of Obama’s economic agenda as well as a means by which to give big manufacturers, software companies and retailers a boost of confidence.

If there is a ray of light in this farce of a faux populist Obama, it is this: Obama himself clearly believes the country is far more progressive than he is since he has attempted to portray himself as having MOVED TO THE LEFT just three days following the loss in Massachusetts.

But don’t believe in the words of William Jennings Obama. Words are cheap for this faux populist. Recall Matt Taibi’stelling analysis of Obama:

What’s taken place in the year since Obama won the presidency has turned out to be one of the most dramatic political about-faces in our history. Elected in the midst of a crushing economic crisis brought on by a decade of orgiastic deregulation and unchecked greed, Obama had a clear mandate to rein in Wall Street and remake the entire structure of the American economy. What he did instead was ship even his most marginally progressive campaign advisers off to various bureaucratic Siberias, while packing the key economic positions in his White House with the very people who caused the crisis in the first place. This new team of bubble-fattened ex-bankers and laissez-faire intellectuals then proceeded to sell us all out, instituting a massive, trickle-up bailout and systematically gutting regulatory reform from the inside.

Fat cat bankers, far from being a Cross of Gold to Obama, provided him with plenty of greenbacks, and Obama has chosen to surround himself with Fat cat bankers while defending their every interest. On 3, cue in the real president of the United States: one, two, three, here’s Robert Rubin.

RELATED READING:

1. "Faux Populist President Needs to Shake Up His Administration: Fire Geithner & Summers" at FDL;

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

3. "The Hamilton Project: Same Corporatist Whine in New DLC Vessels"

4. "Obama-Dem Party 2010 Strategy: Talk (But NOT Act)Like Populists.

5. April 23, 2009 letter from New York AG Andrew Cuomo to Sen. Dodd indicating role Bernanke played in Bank of America-Merrill merger.

Here is Wikipedia’s take on the above:

In a letter to Congress from New York State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo dated April 23, 2009, Bernanke was mentioned along with former Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson in allegations of fraud concerning the acquisition of Merrill Lynch by Bank of America. The letter alleged that the extent of the losses at Merrill Lynch were not disclosed to Bank of America by Bernanke and Paulson. When Bank of America CEO Kenneth Lewis informed Paulson that Bank of America was exiting the merger by invoking the "Materially Adverse Change" clause Paulson immediately called Lewis to a meeting in Washington. At the meeting, which allegedly took place on December 21, 2008, Paulson told Lewis that he and the board would be replaced if they invoked the MAC clause and additionally not to reveal the extent of the losses to shareholders. Paulson stated to Cuomo’s office that he was directed by Bernanke to threaten Lewis in this manner.[30] Congressional hearings into these allegations were conducted on June 25, 2009, with Bernanke testifying that he did not bully Ken Lewis. Under intense questioning by members of Congress, Bernanke said, "I never said anything about firing the board and the management [of Bank of America]." In further testimony, Bernanke said the Fed did nothing illegal or unethical in its efforts to convince Bank of America not to end the merger. Lewis told the panel that authorities expressed "strong views" but said he would not characterize their stance as improper.[31]

Obama’s “Smoking Gun”: His Hamilton Project Speech shows his links to Goldman, Entitlement Cuts (Part 2)

9:34 pm in Uncategorized by fflambeau

II. The Founding of the Hamilton Project.

That Barack Obama was in bed with Bob Rubin and Goldman Sachs as long ago as April, 2006, is shown by the Hamilton Project and Obama’s speech there. Before looking at that vital speech, we need to know first some of the background about the founding of the Hamilton Project by Rubin and Goldman Sachs. Here is the Financial Times writing on April 6, 2006 about the dangers of populism and what the Hamilton Project is about:

Given the continued absence of credible economic leadership in Washington, it is unsurprising – but troubling – that both Republican and Democratic lawmakers have recently been tempted to fill the gap with populism. In that context, we welcome the launch yesterday by the Brookings Institution of a new platform – the Hamilton Project, named after America’s first Treasury Secretary – to address America’s looming economic challenges. Although composed mostly of Democrats, the group states a clear preference for market-based solutions to America’s problems. It rejects the latent signs of protectionism recently visible on Capitol Hill. But it makes a strong case for the state to play a more constructive role both in improving the efficiency of America’s market economy, but also in addressing the growing inequity of market outcomes.

Yet it would be hard to dispute the recommendation that America should boost investment in the skills of its workforce, both through better technical training and improving the underperforming public school system. Likewise, we strongly agree with the view that the US needs to return to the path of fiscal discipline from which Mr Bush has strayed, even if the group ducked the question of how it would reform America’s entitlement system. Reducing the cost of Medicare and Medicaid is America’s most important long-term fiscal challenge. It is also critical to reverse Mr Bush’s tax cuts.
At a time of economic demagoguery on Capitol Hill and a vacuum of leadership in the White House it is refreshing that rational voices are addressing America’s core economic challenges. Many of the policy details are awaited. But the diagnosis is persuasive.

Wikipedia gives us a quick primer on who set up the Hamilton Project and its overall goals:

The Hamilton Project[1] was set up by former US Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin.
He set up the Hamilton Group (sic), a think tank aimed at keeping Democrats from spending too wildly and running up dangerous deficits.[2]
See also: Brookings Institution.

That, folks, complete with the 2 references, is the ENTIRE Wikipedia entry on the Hamilton Group but it captures in a nutshell what the group was designed to do: keep progressive Democrats in line.

Here’s how A Tiny Revolution, under the headline "A Winning Democratic Strategy From People Who Hate Democrats" described the foundation of the Hamilton Project (NOTE: this website has a video clip of Obama’s speech at the Hamilton Project):

David Sirota points out here that the Brookings Institution has launched something called "The Hamilton Project" led by Robert Rubin.

Looking at it, you can tell right away who the Hamilton Project is for: Wall Street Democrats. Or as I like to call them, "The Party of Gay Investment Bankers and Corporate Lawyers Whose Grandfathers Worked in the Roosevelt Administration." (In fact, by my count, its advisory council includes twelve investment bankers.) They’re people who should naturally be Republicans, but just can’t bear having to hang out with Pat Robertson.

The funny thing is, they’re apparently desperate to make this clear. Why? BECAUSE THEY’RE CALLING THEMSELVES "THE HAMILTON PROJECT."
Let’s ask the Democratic Party’s own website to explain the significance of this:

Thomas Jefferson founded the Democratic Party in 1792 as a congressional caucus to fight for the Bill of Rights and against the elitist Federalist Party.
The "elitist Federalist Party," of course, was founded by Jefferson’s chief rival Hamilton.

Moreover, if you only take one thing away from seventh-grade history, it’s that Jefferson was the small-d democrat, while Hamilton famously exclaimed "The People!—The People is a Great Beast!" Hopefully that can be used as the title for all the Hamilton Project’s proposals for free trade, balanced budgets and school vouchers:

Still, it might be nice if the Democratic party didn’t get all its ideas from people who hate Democrats. But don’t get your hopes up.

In the interests of fairness, here is how the Hamilton Project describes itself:

The Hamilton Project produces research and policy proposals on how to create a growing economy that benefits more Americans. The Hamilton Project’s economic strategy reflects a judgment that long term prosperity is best achieved by making economic growth broad-based, by enhancing individual economic security, and by embracing a role for effective government in making needed public investments.

Since its launch in April 2006, The Hamilton Project has undertaken a significant policy agenda with input from leading thinkers in academia, business and public policy communities. The Project has released over 50 policy papers on subjects ranging from energy policy to health care to economic security.

In 2008 we have focused significant attention to our nation’s current economic challenges, starting in January with a public forum on the need for fiscal stimulus, which accompanied the release of a new Hamilton Project policy memo, a fiscal stimulus primer. In March, the Project tackled questions relating to the mortgage market in an event aimed at addressing the national foreclosure crisis. More recently, we focused our attention on the current crises in the housing and financial markets. Our September 23 event featured a high-level discussion on the current state of the financial markets with FDIC Chairman Sheila Bair and Hamilton Project Advisory Council members Lawrence Summers and Eric Mindich. The Hamilton Project also released proposals for new types of mortgages and for alleviating problems in the low-income housing market.

And this from the Hamilton Project:

Leaders from the business, academia, and the public policy community have joined together to launch The Hamilton Project at the Brookings Institution. Consistent with its broad economic strategy, the Project will put forward innovative policy ideas from leading economic thinkers—ideas based on evidence and experience, not ideology and doctrine.

The Project’s economic strategy is built on three principles: that broad-based economic growth is stronger and more sustainable, that economic security and economic growth can be mutually reinforcing, and that effective government can enhance economic growth.

III. Obama’s Speech to the Hamilton Project.

Here is then-Senator Barack Obama’s speech at the opening of the Hamilton Project back in April, 2006 as taken from that original Firedoglake diary. Note again that a video clip of Obama’s speech can be found here:

I would love just to sit here with these folks [Bob Rubin, Roger Altman, Peter R. Orszag] and listen because you have on this panel and in this room some of the most innovative, thoughtful policymakers, people who have both ideas but also ways of implementing them into action. Our country owes a great debt to a number of people who are in this room because they helped put us on a pathway of prosperity that we are still enjoying, despite the best efforts of some. (Laughter)

I want to thank Bob [Rubin] and Roger [Altman] and Peter for inviting me to be here today. I wish I could be here longer. I am going to have to run after a few minutes because we do have an important issue relating to U.S.-India relations. But when Roger originally called to invite me, not only to this forum but to invite me to engage in this project, I couldn’t help but think that this was the sort of breath of fresh air that I think this town needs.

We have all known for some time that the forces of globalization have changed the rules of the game—how we work, how we prosper, how we compete with the rest of the word.

We all know that the coming baby boomers’ retirement will only add to the challenges that we face in this new era. Unfortunately, while the world has changed around us, Washington has been remarkably slow to adapt twenty-first century solutions for a twenty-first century economy. As so many of us have seen, both sides of the political spectrum have tended to cling to outdated policies and tired ideologies instead of coalescing around what actually works.

For liberals, and I include myself in that category, too many of us have been interested in defending programs the way they were written in 1938, believing that if we admit the need to modernize these programs to fit changing times, then the other side will use those acknowledgements to destroy them altogether. On the right, there is a tendency to push for massive tax cuts, as Peter indicated from my speech at Knox College, no matter what the cost or who the target is, a view that stems from the belief that there is no role for government whatsoever in the challenges we face. Of course, neither of these approaches really works.

[snip]

That is what I hope we will see from The Hamilton Project in the months and years to come. You have already drawn some of the brightest minds from academia and policy circles…. So I know that there are going to be wonderful ideas that are generated as a consequence of this project.

Not every idea will I embrace, and I hope that one of the roles that I can play, as a participant in this process, is to not only encourage the work but occasionally challenge it. I will give one simple example. I think that if you polled many of the people in this room, most of us are strong free traders and most of us believe in markets. …So, hopefully, this is not just going to be all of us preaching to the choir. Hopefully, part of what we are going to be doing is challenging our own conventional wisdom and pushing out the boundaries and testing these ideas in a vigorous and aggressive way.

But I can’t think of a better start, given the people who are participating today. I am glad that Brookings has been willing to provide a home for this wonderful effort.

Obama lays it all out: his ties to his friends (Bob Rubin, head of Goldman Sachs; and Peter Orszag of the Hamilton Project who now works in the Obama administration as Budget Chief); his belief in unfettered free trade (making a mockery of his NAFTA renegotiation pledge 2 years later in the heat of battle with Hillary); and, the need for cuts in entitlements.

Paul Street, in a brilliant analysis over at ZNet, shows exactly who Obama is and how he could make such a rapid ascent from obscurity to the Presidency:

I was not alone in seeing Obama as enjoying more than an outside chance at the White House in the near future. Other Left observers knew about Obama’s longstanding outsized ambition and his related "deeply conservative" ideological orientation and power-accommodating nature. We were aware of his early (late 2003-2004) and close vetting by the national political and financial class and of who really selects viable presidential candidates and winners – the corporate and imperial establishment. And we knew also that, as the brilliant left commentator and author-filmmaker John Pilger noted last June, Obama’s racial identity could be a "very seductive tool of propaganda" working on behalf of the ruling class.

Obama was understood early on to be a distinctly possible if not probable next president – despite or even because of his race. We felt that he offered the U.S. power elite and its authoritarian business and military order and global empire a much needed re-packaging – a symbolic overhaul and "re-branding" – that none of the other serious presidential contenders in the mix could safely provide to the same degree required in the wake of the Cheney-Bush nightmare. For me and a few other lefties I knew/know, there was little all that unlikely or surprising or remarkable about Obama’s rapid climb to the top of the American Empire. It all made perfect sense. The same goes for Obama’s performance as U.S. president so far.

…Obama, it seemed to me, was poised to profit from a killer combination in U.S. politics. He joined widespread popularity and a related illusory progressive identification among the citizenry to strong approval from elite financial, corporate, and military elites who determined his basic safety to existing dominant domestic and global hierarchies and doctrines. Sophisticated corporate and military power brokers, I was sure, calculated that his deceptive (as they knew, after vetting him) progressive imagery and related newness would be useful when it came to "managing [popular] expectations" that were certain to be heightened by the passing of the Cheney-Bush regime and era. "Who better," I thought I could hear members of the political and investor classes saying…. "who better than Obama – with his outwardly progressive credentials, his ‘community organizing’ past, and his non-traditional racial identity – to be the public face for the long-predicted massive taxpayer bailout of high finance? Who better than Obama (with his supposed ‘antiwar’ record and his Islamic-sounding name) to provide cover for the reconfiguration of U.S. military control of strategically hyper-significant Middle Eastern oil resources in the wake of Bush’s Iraq fiasco? Who better to safely channel popular angers and to attach alienated segments of the citizenry to the corporate and imperial state and to refashion America’s image around the world?"

Obama’s predictable (and predicted) betrayals of his more leftish campaign rhetoric and imagery have met only minimal and half-hearted opposition from what’s left of a U.S. left. Unjust wars and occupations, mega-bankers’ bailouts and other regressive policies that were seen as intolerable under the nominal rule of a boorish moron from Texas (George W. Bush) have become acceptable for many "progressives" when carried out by an eloquent and urbane black Democrat from Chicago (Barack Obama). A recent pathetic example – one of many – comes from the so-called liberal-left journal The Nation, whose bourgeois editor Katrina Vanden Huevel proclaims the following in an editorial titled "Obama, One Year On:" "Whatever one thinks of Obama’s policy on any specific issue, he is clearly a reform president committed to improvement of peoples’ lives and the renewal and reconstruction of America… Progressives should focus less on the limits of the Obama agenda and more on the possibilities that his presidency opens up"
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Ms. Vanden Heuvel announces here that she has fallen prey to what Chris Hedges, author of the recent book Empire of Illusion, calls "Brand Obama." As Hedges wrote last May:

"Barack Obama is a brand. And the Obama brand is designed to make us feel good about our government while corporate overlords loot the Treasury, our elected officials continue to have their palms greased by armies of corporate lobbyists, our corporate media diverts us with gossip and trivia and our imperial wars expand in the Middle East. Brand Obama is about being happy consumers. We are entertained. We feel hopeful. We like our president. We believe he is like us. But like all branded products spun out from the manipulative world of corporate advertising, we are being duped into doing and supporting a lot of things that are not in our interest."

"… The Obama campaign was named Advertising Age’s marketer of the year for 2008 and edged out runners-up Apple and Zappos.com. Take it from the professionals. Brand Obama is a marketer’s dream. President Obama does one thing and Brand Obama gets you to believe another. This is the essence of successful advertising. You buy or do what the advertiser wants because of how they can make you feel [or because of crass and calculating motivations related to funding and perceived access to power at the upper ranks of the liberal Establishment - P.S.]."

Street’s entire analysis is quite long and may be the best expose of Obama in writing. When one reads it and couples it with David Sirota, Obama’s speech to the Hamilton Project then one can understand that Obama really was the perfect stealth candidate. Not only is he NOT a progressive, he is an ANTI-progressive who represents Goldman Sachs and the power elite of this country. After the bailouts, after the trillions given to Wall St. and the banks (Goldman got its investment in Obama repaid in the billions), after the escalation of war in Afghanistan, after Obama’s health "insurance reform", after the false unemployment summit, we likely will get what Bob Rubin also wants: an attack on entitlements.

Obama’s own words at the Hamilton Project opening show what he’s all about and it ain’t pretty and it ain’t progressive. Obama is Goldman Sachs’s salesman for the bailout for the escalation of an unpopular war and for a "limited government approach" to average Americans. Obama = antiprogressive.

Obama’s “Smoking Gun”: His Hamilton Project Speech shows his links to Goldman, Entitlement Cuts (Part 1)

9:30 pm in Uncategorized by fflambeau

It’s the "smoking gun" that links Barack Obama with Bob Rubin-Goldman Sachs, free trade and cuts in entitlements. It’s the young Senator Barack Obama’s little commented on and little-known speech to the Hamilton Project in April, 2006, well before he became president.

Senator Barack Obama ran a stealth campaign for the presidency in which he took positions on issues that he obviously didn’t believe which explains why he jettisoned them early on (FISA; NAFTA renegotiation; DADT; DOMA etc.). But the REAL, unvarnished Obama was unveiled in a speech he gave as a Senator from Illinois in 2006. He spoke at the request of "my friend" Bob Rubin whose Goldman Sachs had just funded the Hamilton Project, a free trade think tank embedded in the Brookings Institution./>

I. Background: Why the Hamilton Project is Important.

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Obama’s Hamilton Project speech is vital to understanding the man since:

1) it shows the real Obama before his p.r./propaganda team repackaged him;

2) it shows his links, at an early age, to Bob Rubin and Goldman Sachs; he’s been owned by Goldman ever since;

3) it shows Obama has long been a free trader and lied to get votes when he promised to renegotiate NAFTA. He had no such intention and is philosophically opposed to such a renegotiation. He made that promise (and flip-flopped on it) to pander for union votes in Ohio while fighting Hillary for the nomination;

4) it shows Obama is in the bag for what Goldman really wants: free trade AND cuts to entitlements (including social security and medicare).

Before we examine Obama’s Hamilton Project speech, let’s pay tribute to a much earlier diary right here at Firedoglake which exposed this years ago. Hats off to Kirk James Murphy, M.D., whose diary, "The Hamilton Project: Same Corporatist Whine in New DLC Vessels" spelled this out back in February 13th, 2008. Dr. Murphy wrote in his diary this about the opening of the Hamilton Project:

Oh – the Senator who made time for the christening of the new corporatist think tank… the love child of the Clintons’ BFF Robert Rubin?
Sen Barack Obama.

The Hamilton Project was also written about even earlier by David Sirota (but he missed the Obama speech). Back in April, 2006, Sirota noted:

Wall Street Dems Unveil Plan to Undermine Progressives

Here’s a big shocker – the Wall Street wing of the Democratic Party today announced it would be beginning its new war in earnest on the grassroots elements of the party that are demanding serious public policy changes. As the Financial Times reports, Citigroup Chairman Bob Rubin held a press conference at the Brookings Institution to announce the formation of the so-called "Hamilton Project." After paying lip service to various economic problems afflicting the country, Rubin and his former Treasury colleague Roger Altman quickly let it be known exactly what they are up to.

Here’s the key excerpt:

"At a time when Democrats have become more aggressive in voicing concerns about the foreign ownership of US assets, Roger Altman, former deputy Treasury secretary under Mr Clinton, added that more inclusive economic growth could also ‘blunt the political demands for protectionism’…[The group] said it was willing to take on entrenched Democratic interests, such as teaching unions. Policy papers unveiled on Wednesday proposed vouchers for summer schools…"

There it all is. First there’s the dishonest name-calling aimed at those courageous Democrats who are challenging the free trade orthodoxy that is destroying the lives of millions of American and foreign workers. Then there is the promise of an ensuing attack on the labor movement – a reflexive move, of course, for a bunch of corporate executives. And finally, the nod to efforts to defund public education through "vouchers."

None of this is surprising, of course. As head of Citigroup, Rubin has a financial interest in the agenda he’s pushing. And he’s made no apologies for the brazenness with which he pushes his corporatism. Remember, it was Rubin during the debate over the Central American Free Trade Agreement who demanded that congressional Democrats back off their efforts to include labor, human rights and environmental protections in the pact. He and his pals are the same people who rammed trade deals like NAFTA, WTO and China PNTR down the throats of Americans, and then left government service for the high life of the corporate boardroom. There, they reaped the rich financial rewards of the very sell-out policies they used public office to push, while millions of Americans saw their jobs outsourced, their wages frozen and their benefits slashed.

Oh sure, the group claims it is going to look at critical issues like income inequality – but you can be sure they will look at that issue without looking at issues like "free" trade that are fueling that inequality. Because make no mistake about it – this move today is nothing more than the beginning of a frontal attack by Corporate America on the progressive movement, using the Democratic Party as an all-too-transparent cloak of legitimacy.

I added emphasis to that last section because it is so important and has been proven to be what happened under Obama:

>"this move today (the founding of the Hamilton Project) is nothing more than the beginning of a frontal attack by Corporate America on the progressive movement, using the Democratic Party as an all-too-transparent cloak of legitimacy."

(to be continued)