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Goldman Sachs bans contributions to Trump, but Hillary OK

Written By | Sep 7, 2016

WASHINGTON, September 6, 2016 – A Wednesday morning report reveals that financial Godzilla Goldman Sachs (symbol: GS) has figured out a way to ban its top employees from contributing to the campaign of Donald Trump while giving them the green light to send all they can legally contribute to the campaign of Hillary Clinton. The Maven has no doubt now (as if he ever did) that Wall Street crony capitalists were and still remain in the bag for their ailing, handpicked candidate for President in Election 2016.

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Now, to that CNBC report (initial excerpts and bold type via Gateway Pundit), which cites Politico as its original source:

“Investment bank Goldman Sachs has banned its high-ranking employees from contributing money to certain campaigns including that of U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, according to a report in Politico.

“The online politics magazine said Tuesday that Goldman Sachs had expanded its political restrictions to partners of the firm. It cited an email that was set out last week by the bank telling its employees about its rules on political activities…

“…The email cited by Politico does not mention Trump’s name but the business magazine Fortune said it had obtained a copy of the memo in which Goldman ‘specifically mentions the Trump-Pence campaign as an example of one Goldman partners can no longer support.’

“Among the type of donations that are banned, according to the memo, are, ‘Any federal candidate who is a sitting state or local official (e.g., governor running for president or vice president, such as the Trump/Pence ticket, or mayor running for Congress), including their Political Action Committees (PACs),’ Fortune added in its report Tuesday.”

Seems pretty arbitrary. But GS provided Fortune with its flimsy rationale, according to the CNBC report:

“Banned donations include those to any federal candidate who is also a current state or local official, Fortune reported. This would rule out the Trump/Pence ticket, it noted. Pence is the sitting Governor of Indiana.”

This arbitrary standard, cloaked in the image of legal caution, is too clever by half. For example, Republicans and/or Trump supporters might want to cite GS support for the Presidential candidacy of sitting U.S. Senators—which also would have ruled out GS support for presidential candidates—and sitting senators—like John Kerry (2004) and Barack Obama (2008) as evidence of a contradiction. Or is it? No, because neither “federal candidate” was a sitting “state or local official” at the time. They were just sitting U.S. Senators. See how smart these guys are, careful to cover their bases?

On the other hand,

“Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton currently doesn’t hold office and vice presidential candidate Tim Kaine is a U.S. senator and wouldn’t be subject to the rules.”

In other words, GS hairsplits the current distinction between the Democrat and Republican tickets solely to penalize the Republican ticket whose bottom half includes, yes, a sitting state governor, but one who is not running for another state term.

As the CNBC report explains,

“The policy change is meant to prevent employees from violating pay-to-play rules and to minimize damage to the firm’s reputation from any potential violations. Pay-to-play schemes involve campaign contributions or other payments made by investment advisers to state and local government officials in an attempt to influence the awarding of lucrative public contracts, according to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.”

How laudable. But speaking of “pay to play,” all today’s reports on the GS Trump donation ban fail to mention this year’s earlier flap over Goldman’s obvious efforts to “pay” the Clinton campaign for “pay,” according to an online report via CNN Money just this past April.

“Just two months after leaving the State Department, Hillary Clinton began a short but very lucrative speaking career to banks, securities firms, trade associations, and three times, Goldman Sachs.”

How lucrative? According to the New York Post,

“Clinton claimed she took whatever Goldman Sachs was willing to pay.

“‘That’s what they offered,’ she said of the $675,000 she received for three speeches.

“One source with knowledge of Clinton’s speaking fees said it’s disingenuous for the Democratic front-runner to assert she took whatever clients wanted to pay, since hiring her was a big deal involving big bucks.”

But this outsized and clearly in-kind GS contribution to the Clinton campaign for Hillary’s secret presentations still have conformed, retroactively of course, to that firm’s current “rules” for donations, since Clinton even at that time did not fall under the “sitting” state or local politician rule as defined by Goldman’s current policy. The new rule clearly applies only to Pence and therefore to Trump as well. Very clever. Very arbitrary. Very biased. Transparently so.

Goldman’s sham anti-Trump rules are precisely the kind of bafflegab shenanigans that have slowly, inexorably angered the vanishing middle and lower classes in Flyover Country. This kind of blatantly discriminatory nonsense hiding behind legalistic mumbo-jumbo is just too obvious, too clever by half for an increasing number of American voters who know they’re being scammed despite their inability to precisely define how it’s being done.

They do perceive, however, that GS wants its upper crust employees’ salaries and bonuses to grow astronomically, and without hindrance from the Great Unwashed who, lest we forget, paid for their TARP bailouts and free money to begin with. Bought and paid for, Hillary’s the way to go for these oligarchs. She’ll do what she’s told, or else. Big money tends to win these days, and Goldman is plenty big.

Revelations like this one are also what unhinged the supporters of Bernie Sanders during the largely manipulated Democrat primaries this spring. Sanders was onto Clinton’s cozy ties with Goldman Sachs from the get go, noted the New York Post:

“Rival Bernie Sanders has been hitting Clinton hard for financial ties to Goldman and Wall Street as evidence she’s beholden to them.”

Problem was, Bernie and his rabid supporters never had anywhere near the cash or media influence to counter the money Clinton had already raised from her crony capitalist friends. That’s water over the dam now, though many of Bernie’s embittered supporters are still looking for revenge and wondering where the best place is for them to go to vent their frustrations on Hillary and her crony capitalist pals.

Terry Ponick

Biographical Note: Dateline Award-winning music and theater critic for The Connection Newspapers and the Reston-Fairfax Times, Terry was the music critic for the Washington Times print edition (1994-2010) and online Communities (2010-2014). Since 2014, he has been the Senior Business and Entertainment Editor for Communities Digital News (CDN). A former stockbroker and a writer and editor with many interests, he served as editor under contract from the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) and continues to write on science and business topics. He is a graduate of Georgetown University (BA, MA) and the University of South Carolina where he was awarded a Ph.D. in English and American Literature and co-founded one of the earliest Writing Labs in the country. Twitter: @terryp17