By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: January 22, 2021 ~
Nine days ago we cautiously reported that Senator Sherrod Brown, a Democrat from Ohio who holds a critical view of Wall Street’s serial bent toward fraudulent activities, was set to take the Chairmanship of the Senate Banking Committee. This would endow Brown with the power to set the agenda for hearings, call witnesses and put them under oath, and issue subpoenas. We wrote this at the time:
“We get the feeling that Senator Brown took the very wise and preemptive step of getting mainstream media to announce his Chairmanship yesterday because he clearly understood that Wall Street’s mega banks would be fighting behind the scenes in an effort to prevent him from advancing to Chair.”
With the addition of the two new Democratic Senators from Georgia’s special runoff (Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff) and Vice President Kamala Harris as the tie-breaker vote, Democrats now control the Senate and the chairmanship of each of the Senate Committees should have swiftly moved to a Democrat.
Instead, we learned from last night’s evening news that Senator Mitch McConnell, a Republican from Kentucky who is the outgoing Senate Majority Leader, is threatening to use the filibuster to stop passage of the Organizing Resolution, which is required in order to seat the new Senate Committee chairs.
Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, a Democrat from Rhode Island and an expert on the dark money that has corrupted Washington, appeared last evening on the MSNBC news program, All In With Chris Hayes, to explain what McConnell was up to. (A YouTube video of that interview appears below.)
Senator Brian Schatz, Democrat of Hawaii, Tweeted that the move by McConnell was “wacky,” adding that “We won the Senate. We get the gavels.”
Former U.S. Labor Secretary, Robert Reich, Tweeted that “The filibuster was popularized in the Jim Crow era by Southerners who wanted to prevent the Northern majority from passing legislation in favor of civil rights for Black citizens. Abolish it.”
Senator Chris Murphy, Democrat of Connecticut, noted in a Tweet that “…after Mitch McConnell changed the Senate rules at a blistering pace during his 6 years in charge, he is threatening to filibuster the Senate’s organizing resolution unless the Democratic majority agrees to never change the rules again.”
This is a sampling of the fat donations that McConnell’s campaign committee and Leadership PAC received from big Wall Street firms in the 2019-2020 election cycle: Blackstone Group, $124,193; Apollo Global Management, $98,547; KKR, $80,978; JPMorgan Chase, $62,867; Goldman Sachs, $61,179; Bank of America (parent of Merrill Lynch), $40,634. (That data comes from the Center for Responsive Politics, using filings from the Federal Election Commission (FEC). The monies come from the Wall Street firms’ PACs or employees and their family members, not the corporation itself.)
Our search of FEC records turns up the following: The Chairman and CEO of JPMorgan Chase, Jamie Dimon, personally contributed to McConnell’s re-election bid, providing $2800. Leon Black, the controversial Chairman and CEO of Apollo Global Management, whose reputation has taken a beating from his ties to pedophile Jeffrey Epstein, contributed the maximum $5600 to McConnell ($2800 for his primary bid and $2800 for the general election). Henry Kravis, Co-Chair and Co-CEO of KKR, contributed $5,000. KKR’s other Co-Chair and Co-CEO, George Roberts, chipped in another $5,000 to McConnell.
John Harris, the founding Editor of Politico, summed up McConnell in a column in September, calling him “a skilled practitioner of the politics of decline.” Harris referred to McConnell’s mind as “ruthless rationality.” Harris writes further:
“McConnell is leading a party that depends on exploiting every avenue to preserve power despite not commanding national majorities. Starting in 1992, in seven presidential elections, Republicans have won the popular vote just once.”