In the face of a presidential campaign marred by questions over a private e-mail server, a refusal to reveal texts of Wall Street speeches and often assailed by primary foe Bernie Sanders over her intimate ties to the much-reviled financial sector, one would naturally assume Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton would avoid outright conflict of interest, or even the appearance of her private interests clashing with either public obligations or politically sensitive issues.
Despite excitedly posturing herself as white knight in the interminable service to the downtrodden with a deep animus toward Wall Street, Hillary Clinton’s altruist impulses have apparently extended great advantages to one young investor, Marc Mezvinsky, in order to boost his burgeoning career as an investment banker.
Mr. Mezvinsky, a former Goldman Sachs’ employee, is Mrs. Clinton’s son-in–law.
Exhorting for investors for his 2011 hedge fund brainchild, Eaglevale Partners, among the earliest primary lenders to Mezvinsky’s innovation were Goldman Sachs CEO, Lloyd Blankfein, and Marc Lasry, co-founder of Avenue Capital Group.
Chelsea Clinton was once employed by Lasry’s Avenue Capital Group and both Blankfein and Lasry are top donors to Clinton.
Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) records reveal the Eaglevale Hellenic Opportunity Fund LP established by Mezvinsky and partners Kenneth Mallon II and Bennett Grau requested a minimum investment of $2 million to become involved in the venture and the hedge fund managers refused to disclose the fund’s range of assets.
Unfortunately for Mezvinsky, his partners and investors, the hedge fund was a complete debacle: With losses mounting to the tune of 48 percent in one fund specific to Greece, Mezvinsky and his partners dissolved the Greek venture in May 2016.
Notorious for her evasion techniques, Hillary Clinton has remained completely silent on the issue, preferring to sidestep inquiries which might prove embarrassing or troubling to her personally or her limping campaign.
When The Intercept’s intrepid Lee Fang ventured to broach the subject of her son-in-law’s failed investment financed by her long-time confidantes from Wall Street, Clinton perfectly executed a tactic she has mastered through years of experience: She turned away, ignored the question and basked in the splendor of her adoring fans at a San Francisco rally.
Recognized as a potential source of trouble, Clinton footman Nick Merrill intervened on Clinton’s behalf and demanded to know who Fang was. Identifying himself, Merrill situated himself between Fang and Clinton and pretended to demonstrate an interest in the issue Fang was attempting to raise with the former Secretary.
When Merrill’s attempt to feign ignorance on a matter which has been reported on for over a year collapsed, he accepted Fang’s contact information and offered a hollow promise to respond with an answer to his query.
Needless to say, Fang is still awaiting a response from Merrill.
Hillary’s connections to Wall Street matter, and not just because it is a potent wedge issue which separates the front-runner and her rival Bernie Sanders or his crucial voting bloc.
The Clinton’s ties to Wall Street, particularly Goldman Sachs, stretch back to 1991 when Robert Rubin served as Vice Chairman and Co-Chief Operating Officer of the banking giant and signed on as a Clinton loyalist, eventually becoming Secretary of the Treasury for Bill Clinton.
Rubin remained with Clinton until 1999 and was influential in Clinton’s decision not to regulate derivatives. Rubin returned to Wall Street, this time serving with another bank giant, Citigroup, where his role included briefly becoming chairman before departing in January 2009, after playing a significant role, one supposes, in securing tax dollars to bail out the bank for its role in the financial collapse of 2008-2009.
Goldman Sachs’ relationship, gravy train rather, with Bill and Hillary lengthened and deepened after Lloyd Blankfein assumed the role of Chairman and CEO in 2006.
Paid $675,000 for speeches, and her husband paid an additional $1,550,000 for his, it is little wonder why the Clintons choose to avoid being interrogated about a relationship built on the Clinton’s greed and Wall Street’s eternal gratitude: The unofficial pact smacks of a particular brand of corruption which only the Clintons could concoct and escape with and a corruption to which the Clintons are forever associated.
Cemented with six-figure speaking deals, the ties forged between Wall Street and the Clintons over two decades have been routinely uncovered to be little more than an exchange of commodities.
In exchange for the Clinton’s cooperation with Wall Street, whether they occupied the White House or held a seat in the Senate, the two former power brokers are rewarded with princely speaking fees for mind-numbing presentations and their sham charity is presented with generous donations from the Wall Street elite.
The Clinton’s crown jewel, however, is largess for their political campaigns: Goldman Sachs has remained one of the largest donors to the Clintons, with Hillary accepting $169,850 spread over both her presidential campaign and associated superPAC.
Among the most troubling examples of the Clinton’s corruption is the 2011 payment of $200,000 to Bill from Goldman Sachs for a speaking engagement at a moment the multinational bank was lobbying the State Department for dramatic changes to the Budget Control Act, which would have extended the life of the Export-Import Bank, thus enabling Goldman Sachs to profit immensely from firms to which it had substantial investments.
As if on cue, Goldman Sachs did the talking: The firm’s spokesman, Andrew Williams, denied any link to Bill Clinton’s paid speech and the re-authorization of the Export-Import bank through Budget Control Act, calling it “preposterous.”
That the Clintons can escape unpunished is no mystery: Considering themselves political colossi, the two deem it beneath their dignity to be held accountable for the egregious conflicts evident here. Both expect their acolytes to bravely defend them for their obvious profiting from their former high positions in government.
In an epoch where conflict of interest has become an inevitable occurrence in Washington, the Clintons have brought a new style to their corruption. Their stripe is twofold: They operate their graft under the veneer of charity or overtly as making a living.
[opensecrets.org] [Politico] [theintercept.com] [ibtimes.com] [secdatabase.com] [Photo courtesy america.aljazeera.com]