The Enron scandal during the early years of the Bush Administration was small potatoes compared to the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac meltdowns which led to the loses of $trillions for investors worldwide. Yet, the "news" media at the time was filled with stories about campaign contributions to President Bush from Enron and questions of what kind of access or special treatment they might have received from the Administration.
Now, the shoe is on the other foot in a big way and the silence is deafening:
Is Goldman Obama's Enron? No, it's worse
By: J.P. Freire
The Washington Examiner
April 20, 2010
Financial professional work in the Goldman Sachs booth on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange in New York City. (Photo by Chris Hondros/Getty Images)
Campaign contributions from Goldman Sachs employees to President Obama are nearly seven times as much as President Bush received from Enron workers, according to numbers on OpenSecrets.org.
In 2002, the New York Times wrote: "President Bush is seeking to play down his relationship with Enron's embattled chairman, Kenneth L. Lay. But their ties are broad and deep and go back many years, and the relationship has been beneficial to both." (h/t Lachlan Markey)
But the mere $151,722.42 (inflation adjusted) in contributions from Enron-affiliated executives, employees, and PACs to Bush hardly add up to Obama's $1,007,370.85 (inflation adjusted) from Goldman-affiliated executives and employees. That's also not taking into account how much Goldman contributed to Obama cabinet member Hillary Clinton ($415,595.63 inflation adjusted), which was itself almost three times as much as Bush received as well.
It would be fair to say that the total amount the Obama administration has received from those affiliated with Goldman Sachs is ten times that of what Bush received from Enron.
Goldman is being sued for civil fraud by the Securities and Exchange Commission for deliberately putting unwitting clients on the wrong side of a mortgage security trade that had been designed to fail.
It's not even just campaign contributions. There's quite the revolving door. According to our own Tim Carney:
Greg Craig, Obama's first White House counsel, has joined Goldman, we learned this week. He may not have too much pull in the West Wing, which drove him out for hewing too close to Obama's campaign promises, but as a former insider he will provide valuable intelligence to the world's largest investment bank.
Rahm Emanuel, White House chief of staff, was paid $35,000 as a consultant to Goldman while also working as Bill Clinton's top fundraiser. Obama's fundraiser and economic adviser Warren Buffett is very long on Goldman, having bet on them in 2008 in the expectation of a bailout. Mark Patterson, chief of staff to Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, was a Goldman Sachs lobbyist until months before joining Team Obama.
Readers will recall the criticism of President Bush in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Some went so far as to suggest that he was slow to act because he hated black people who were among the victims in New Orleans.
But in the wake of the British Petroleum oil spill, the Obama Administration did next to nothing to address the issue. They failed to follow emergency procedures which might have alleviated much of the spill problem. Worse still is that the Obama Administration exempted BP from some environmental regulations and that BP lobbyists were seeking to extend those exemptions in the days before the explosion which led to the spill.
What factor might explain this lax attitude towards environmental regulations on the part of the Obama Administration? Did the fact that Obama was the biggest recipient of BP related campaign contributions have anything to do with it? This after Obama pledged during the campaign that he wouldn't take money from big oil. Yeah, like he's really lived up to his campaign promises! BP now brags about how effective their lobbying and campaign contribution effort has been.
If the story line for Enron and Katrina was Bush incompetence sprinkled with political corruption then that same story line should apply to Obama whose Administration is much deeper in the money and connections game than Bush ever was.
But don't expect to get daily updates on these stories on your nightly news the way we did with Bush!