Published on TheHill.com on July 1, 2014
The never-ending Clinton money grab is more than $150 million deep. One of their most lucrative benefactors is Wall Street powerhouse Goldman Sachs.
Since leaving the White House, Bill and Hillary have collected more than $3 million from the banking goliath in campaign contributions, speaking fees and donations to their private foundation. In addition, Goldman has underwritten some of Hillary’s pet projects, including a partnership with the State Department on a women’s project conceived by the former first lady. There’s more — Goldman also made commitments in the millions to the Clintons’ favorite programs at the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI).
Of course, that money was peanuts for Goldman, whose profit for the first quarter of 2014 was $2 billion!
But the cozy relationship has caused this question to loom over Hillary’s likely presidential candidacy: Will the left tolerate the Clintons’ increasingly incestuous relationship with the biggest crony capitalist firm in the U.S.? Politics, like nature, abhors a vacuum. Will someone from the left step forward to fill it?
So far, there’s no real threat. But stay tuned.
Last year, Hillary gave two speeches to Goldman clients for $200,000 each. Her conciliatory tone alarmed some of her liberal friends. Not only didn’t she bash Goldman with the same robber baron populist rhetoric she’d used weeks earlier, she actually suggested the banks shouldn’t be the only ones blamed for the economic crisis. We’re all in this together, she posited.
According to Politico, one Goldman listener was overjoyed. “It was like, ‘Here’s someone who doesn’t want to vilify us but wants to get business back in the game,” one banker noted. A match made in heaven — Hillary’s what they have been waiting for.
Bill’s piled up even more money, collecting more than $1.3 million for eight speeches to Goldman. Now that’s hard work, as Hillary would say.
In addition, Goldman sponsored a panel chaired by Chelsea Clinton at the CGI last September. For a mere $375,000, Goldman’s logo was prominently displayed and the company was listed as a host. In remarks at the session, Goldman CEO Lloyd Blankfein praised the U.S. for “accepting a higher unemployment rate,” even as it bailed out the banks. Not a word from Hillary about how wonderful a high unemployment rate is! No mention of income equality.
Well-respected consumer advocate Jim Hightower questioned Goldman’s charitable contribution: “What is ‘charitable’ about funneling $375,000 into one of Bill Clinton’s show-and-tell PR events?” he asked. “Come on, that’s not charity — it’s advertising.”
Hightower definitely has a point. What was the money for? CGI, certainly didn’t pay $375,000 to rent the room for that session. Nor did Chelsea Clinton command such a fee for her less than memorable scripted comments. No, it was simply a payment for exposure for Goldman (and good will with the Clintons) and more money for the CGI.
When the Clintons want to meet with their biggest donors for a day, they often book Goldman’s corporate auditorium. It’s the perfect place to make the heavy hitters feel comfortable and right at home.
Goldman’s employees were big fans of Hillary as a candidate, contributing $434,850 to her 2008 presidential campaign and $143,170 in 2006 and another $65,500 in 2004 to her Senate campaign.
In fact, Blankfein brags about the fundraisers he’s held for Hillary.
And, of course, Goldman has made a substantial contribution to the Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation. The exact amount isn’t clear, but it’s listed $ 250,000 – 500,000.
Goldman can always be counted on at the Clinton Global Initiative. It joined Google, McKinsey, and Cisco in a $10 million commitment to fund a project helping girls with technology and promised additional money to a real estate project to lower energy costs.
As Hillary told Goldman, we’re all in this together. So keep that cash coming. We’ll worry about the left some other day.
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