The golden Goldies:an updated list of Goldman Sachs ties to the Obama Government including Elena Kagan
Posted by seumasach on May 13, 2010
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).
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 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 (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.
>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, and also an associate of Obama’s on the Harvard Law Review.
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. 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 . He also served on 12-member advisory board of the Obama campaign’s transition team.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.” 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.”
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. 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. About two-thirds of Liddy’s holding is restricted and cannot be sold until May 31.
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. Liddy was not paid for his time at AIG. On August 3, 2009, Robert Benmosche was named President and CEO of AIG.
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 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 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 fromCBS News.
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):
BERKOWITZ, HOWARD P.
CRAIG, GREGORY. (revolving door)
DUDLEY, WILLIAM C.
EFFRON, BLAIR W.
GEPHARDT, RICHARD (aka “DICK”) A.
GREENSTONE, MICHAEL (revolving door to Hamilton Project)
HAMILTON PROJECT, THE
LEW, JACOB (AKA “JACK”) J.
LIDDY, EDWARD MICHAEL.
LIPTON, DAVID A.
OBAMA, BARACK H.
REISCHAUER, ROBERT D.
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.
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.
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.
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.