New York, NY – In a curiously timed move, Goldman Sachs has enacted new rules that ban the firm’s top employees from contributing to certain campaigns — including the Trump-Pence ticket – but fully allows donations to the Queen of Wall St.; Hillary Clinton.
The new rules went into effect Sept. 1 and apply only to partners of the firm; the real moneymen of Goldman.
Incredibly, Goldman Sachs claims the rules were implemented as means of removing any implication of so-called “pay to play,” as 4 years ago the bank paid $12 million to settle charges that a former Boston-based banker had engaged in bond underwriting in the state while simultaneously working for and contributing funds to the campaign of a then Massachusetts state treasurer and gubernatorial-hopeful, Tim Cahill.
“The policy change is also meant to minimize potential reputational damage caused by any false perception that the firm is attempting to circumvent pay-to-play rules, particularly given partners’ seniority and visibility,” the firm wrote in the memo first seen by Politico. “All failures to pre-clear political activities as outlined below are taken seriously and violations may result in disciplinary action.”
The fact that the bank is just now instituting this new rule, in the midst of a highly contested presidential election, raises serious questions about the timing of this new rule.
The new policy bans donations to any politicians running for state or local offices, as well as contributions to state officials who are seeking federal office, which in turn, makes campaign contributions to the Trump-Pence ticket a violation of the new rule, as Pence is the current governor of Indiana. The rule doesn’t apply to the Clinton ticket, as Kaine is a U.S. Senator for Virginia, and not considered a local official under Goldman’s rules.
According to a report published by Fortune:
Fortune in July reported that SEC rules would make it nearly impossible for the Trump-Pence campaign to raise money from private equity managers, citing pay-to-play rules.
The ban doesn’t eliminate a large number of potential Trump donors. The bank has 467 partners globally, out of 30,000 plus employees. But since Goldman partners tend to be some of the wealthiest people in finance, the fact that they aren’t allowed to send money to the Trump campaign could make a difference, particularly among the race for Wall Street dollars, where Trump has been trailing Clinton but catching up lately.
All of the bank’s employees are already required seek approval from the firm regarding any campaign contributions.
Although Lloyd Blankfein, Goldman’s CEO, has continually declined to say who he is supporting for president this election cycle, he is a known long-time Clinton supporter who donated money to Hillary Clinton when she ran against Obama is 2008.
Hillary Clinton gained the title of “Queen of Wall St.”, due to her public disclosure of financial documents, which indicated that in only 12 speeches given to private equity firms, Wall Street Banks, and other major global financial corporations from 2013 to 2015 — she received $2,935,000 in compensation – more than most American will make in their lifetime.
Over that two-year period Clinton was paid $675,000 for speeches to Goldman Sachs.
To give these numbers some meaning, the U.S. Census Bureau in 2011 estimated that “bachelor’s degree holder can expect to earn about $2.4 million over his or her work life.” That same year the Pew Research organization estimated that a “high school graduate” would be expected to make roughly $770,000 over the course of their lifetime.
The absurdity of politicians cashing in for influence reeks of cronyism and corruption, and lends credibility to a 2014 study from Princeton University that revealed that the U.S. is not a democracy, but rather an oligarchy. An oligarchy is a form of government in which power resides in the hands of a small number of elites within a society.
Money is the lifeblood of presidential politics, thus implementation of this new rule in the midst of a presidential election cycle seems like a clear example of the financial power-elite attempting to use their power and influence to sway the outcome 2016 presidential election.