By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: February 5, 2016
The Hillary Clinton presidential campaign has a new strategy to get Senator Bernie Sanders to shut up about the unseemly mountains of money Wall Street has showered on her and Bill Clinton throughout their careers: in campaign funds, in speaking fees, in home mortgages, and in donations to their charity, the Clinton Global Initiative. (Details here.) The new strategy is to effectively socialize Sanders to silence by embarrassing him every time he brings up the subject.
Before Clinton took the stage last night at the MSNBC Democratic Debate at the University of New Hampshire in Durham, her Press Secretary, Brian Fallon, and Campaign Manager, Robby Mook, met with reporters from Bloomberg News to complain about Sanders’ innuendos that Hillary Clinton can be bought by Wall Street.
According to a report at Bloomberg, Fallon stated at a Bloomberg Politics breakfast earlier yesterday that if Sanders is “going to raise the specter of contributions that have been made to her from the financial industry, he should have to complete the thought, and lay out exactly what he’s accusing her of.” Mook chimed in to challenge the idea that Hillary could be bought by Wall Street by noting that “hedge fund billionaires” are “attacking” her in campaign ads. (It should be noted that other hedge fund billionaires, like George Soros and Paloma Partners’ David Sussman, have contributed over $10 million to Hillary’s Super Pac, Priorities USA, which raked in over $41 million last year, 90 percent of which came from a handful of super wealthy individuals. Sanders has no aligned Super Pac.)
Hillary continued the strategy to silence Sanders on stage last night with this:
“I think it’s time to end the very artful smear that you and your campaign have been carrying out in recent weeks.”
Sanders will, hopefully, not be foolish enough to fall for this socializing to silence routine from a bare-knuckled career politician like Hillary. What he should have said is this:
First, we’re not talking about modest sums. We’re talking about $250,000 and $300,000 speaking fees for one hour speeches. (These fees didn’t go into campaign coffers but directly into the Clintons’ personal bank accounts.) According to the Washington Post, in less than a year and a half, Hillary and Bill Clinton earned over $25 million in speaking fees, a significant portion of which came from Wall Street firms. In 2012, Hillary’s last full year as Secretary of State, Bill Clinton socked away an astonishing $16.3 million in speaking fees.
And we’re not talking about some tenuous relationship between Hillary and Wall Street. We’re talking about the fact that, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, four of the top five lifetime donors to Hillary’s campaigns have been the employees, executives and Pacs of mega Wall Street banks: Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley – the same too-big-to-fail banks that almost brought the country to ruin in the 2008 crash and had to be bailed out by the taxpayer.
Nor are we talking about some tenuous potential for wrongdoing on the part of Hillary as a result of those outsized sums of money. The public knows excruciatingly well that Wall Street money used to lobby Congress and the White House was responsible for the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act on the part of Bill Clinton – who actually had the temerity to provide one of the signing pens on the legislation to its chief beneficiary, Sandy Weill, CEO of Citigroup. Without any appropriate cooling-off period, Bill Clinton’s Treasury Secretary who had pushed for the repeal, Robert Rubin, proceeded to Citigroup where he received obscene compensation over the next decade of more than $120 million.
That deregulation of Wall Street set in motion the 2008 crash and made it more systemic and more economically painful to our nation, resulting in millions losing their jobs and their homes to foreclosure. Those are not pesky details that should be swept under the rug just because Hillary wants to talk about how much she’s done for the little guy — without the facts getting in the way.
As a perfect example of how Hillary wants to tar Sanders as smearing her while drawing a dark curtain around the facts, MSNBC moderator Chuck Todd asked her if she would release the transcripts of all of her speeches to Wall Street firms. Hillary did not seem enthusiastic and offered only that she would look into it.