Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Obama's Rahm Emanuel, Wall Street and Chicago Daley Machine Connections

“In late 1998…Rahm Emanuel, a departing senior political aide to President Bill Clinton, ventured out to an elegant restaurant in Dupont Circle…John Simpson, who ran the Chicago office of…Wasserstein Perella & Company, had flown to Washington to meet with Mr. Emanuel at the behest of Mr. Simpson’s boss, Bruce Wasserstein, a major Democratic donor and renowned Wall Street dealmaker who had gotten to know Mr. Emanuel.

“`I had this idea that this could work and that it had upside,’ said Mr. Wasserstein, now chairman and chief executive of Lazard, the investment bank….Shortly afterward, Mr. Emanuel accepted an offer, nudging him down what has by now become a well-trodden gilded path out of politics and into the lucrative world of business.

“Mr. Emanuel, who was chosen last month to become President-elect Barack Obama’s White House chief of staff, went on to make more than $18 million in just two-and-a-half years, turning many of his contacts in his substantial political Rolodex into paying clients…Mr. Emanuel built up strong ties with an industry now at the heart of the economic crisis…After Mr. Emanuel left banking to run for Congress, members of the securities and investment industry became his biggest backers, donating more than $1.5 million to his campaigns dating back to 2002, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

“Mr. Emanuel also leaned heavily upon the industry while he was chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee during the 2006 midterm elections. Financial industry donors contributed more than $5.8 million to the committee…Friends of Mr. Emanuel’s from his private-sector days said he still checks in with them regularly….It was Morton L. Janklow, the literary agent for several former presidents, who introduced Mr. Emanuel to Mr. Wasserstein…Mr. Emanuel met Mr. Wasserstein in his New York office,…His connections certainly helped drum up business and contributed to his hiring, former colleagues said. Indeed, a partial list of clients from Mr. Emanuel’s Congressional financial disclosure in 2002 is easily linked up to the various strands of his political career, including his time as a fund-raiser for Mayor Richard M. Daley of Chicago and then for Mr. Clinton’s first presidential run.

“The clients included Loral Space & Communications, run by Bernard L. Schwartz, one of the Democratic Party’s biggest donors, who said he got to know Mr. Emanuel while he was in the White House; the Chicago Board Options Exchange, whose chairman and chief executive, William J. Brodsky, became friends with Mr. Emanuel while he was working for Mayor Daley; and Avolar, a business aviation company whose top executive, Stuart I. Oran, was formerly in charge of governmental affairs for United Airlines, a role in which he said he interacted with Mr. Emanuel at the White House.

One of Mr. Emanuel’s major deals was the purchase in 2001 of a home alarm business, SecurityLink, from SBC Communications, the telecommunications company that was run by William M. Daley, the former secretary of commerce in the Clinton administration and the brother of Chicago’s mayor….Mr. Emanuel’s biggest transaction came in late 1999 when he landed an advisory role for Wasserstein in the $8.2 billion merger of two utility companies, Unicom, the parent company of Commonwealth Edison, and Peco Energy, to create Exelon, now one of the nation’s largest power companies.

“John W. Rowe, the former chief executive of Unicom who now holds the same position at Exelon, sought out Mr. Emanuel after he went to Wasserstein… Mr. Rowe…was first introduced to Mr. Emanuel by Lester Crown, the billionaire scion of Chicago’s influential Crown family.

“Tax returns Mr. Emanuel released while first running for office and reported in news articles, along with Congressional financial disclosures, reveal his steep financial ascent while working at Wasserstein. He earned more than $900,000 in 1999, his first year at the firm; nearly $1.4 million in 2000; and $6.5 million in 2001, when he left the firm in midyear to run for Congress. He collected $9.7 million more from the firm in deferred compensation in 2002….The bonanza Mr. Emanuel reaped would come in handy when he ran for the House seat vacated by Representative Rod R. Blagojevich, now governor.

“Mr. Emanuel contributed $450,000 out of his own pocket to his campaign in the primary, and his leading rival accused him of trying to buy a seat in Congress.

--from a Dec. 4, 2008 New York Times article by Michael Luo, titled “In Banking, Emanuel Made Money and Connections.”

“…At the end of the summer of 1989, Obama was an intern at Sidley Austin, a prestigious Chicago law firm that also happened to employ...Michelle Robinson…Michelle left Sidley Austin to become an Assistant to Chicago Mayor Richard Daley…The move was not without its benefits. Michelle Obama's stint at the mayor's office gave her, and her husband, access to Chicago's political class...Michelle helped give Obama an invaluable new base in Chicago politics...After 18 months, she left the mayor's office…”

--from an Aug. 25, 2008 Time magazine article

Obama’s Rahm Emanuel, Wall Street and Chicago Daley Machine Connection

On reason 2012 Democratic Party presidential candidate Barack Obama failed to bring much radical democratic change to the United States between 2009 and 2012 might be because of his political and personal historical and current links to rich white politicians like Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, to the corrupt Daley Machine of Chicago’s Regular Democratic Party organization and to various super-rich white bankers from Wall Street firms like Goldman Sachs and Citigroup. As Newsweek columnist Jonathan Alter observed in his 2010 book, The Promise: President Obama, Year One:

“Obama and Rahm…had a teasing relationship based on Rahm’s legendary profanity…By October [2008] Rahm had become an important part of the campaign…The soon-to-be president…had to convince Rahm Emanuel to give up his dream of being the…speaker of the House.

Rahm was in all the early meetings, but nailing down a commitment from him to be chief of staff taxed Obama’s persuasive power…The two men spoke in person about the job at least half a dozen times…If he took the job, Obama said, he’d be his `right-hand’ man on everything…

“Michelle Obama’s father, Fraser Robinson, held his job as a worker in the city water department in part because of his political work as a precinct captain in the Regular Democratic Party organization

“…Obama asked his…campaign economic advisors…to assemble a team of 8 to 10 big thinkers for conference calls every 5 days or so…Three former treasury secretaries were on the list: Robert Rubin, the…senior advisor (and former chairman) at…Citigroup.., Larry Summers, the…Rubin protégé.., Paul O’Neill, the…former ALCOA chairman…Warren Buffett and Paul Volcker were often on the line. The second richest-man in the world had met Obama in 2004…His endorsement gave the candidate a boost…Volcker…had known Obama since mid-2007…

“…During his years at the top of Goldman Sachs, the Clinton administration (where he…served as treasury secretary), Citigroup, and the Hamilton Project…[Robert] Rubin mentored scores of…young policy types. More than a dozen of them eventually worked in important positions under Obama and maintained their relationship with Rubin. [Tim Geithner, Larry Summers, Peter Orszag, Michael Froman, Philip Murphy, Gene Sperling, Jason Furm, Jacob Lew, Gary Gensler, Diana Farrell, Lewis Alexander, Lael Brainard and David Lipton]…

Summers quickly became Obama’s dominant economic advisorBuffett…had invested heavily…in Moody’s, one of the corrupted ratings agencies that gave cover to the reckless…Summers had taken a…hands-off view…of regulating derivatives while at the treasury department in the 1990s and as late as 2008 made more than $5 million consulting on them for the hedge fund D.E. Shaw and Co….The New York Times revealed that Summers was a consultant for Taconic Capital Advisors as early as 2004, when he was still president of Harvard and lecturing faculty members on why they couldn’t moonlight…Obama and his economic advisors met in Miami on September 19 [2008]…”

  So it’s not surprising that the undemocratic control of both Chicago’s city government and the U.S. federal government by Wall Street investment bankers and Billionaire U.S. plutocrats like Warren Buffett and Lester Crown has continued under the Democratic Obama regime since 2009.

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