In a joint op-ed for the Huffington Post with Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton takes aim at Wall Street’s dark influence over D.C..
The 2016 Democratic presidential candidate used the op-ed to explain why she’s supporting the Senator’s bill that takes aim at “slowing the revolving door” between Wall Street and the government. Clinton vowed “as president” she “would crack down on conflicts of interest in government.”
The legislation is referred to as the golden parachute bill, as in, how can the public trust someone to regulate a sector of big corporations that is getting an eight figure golden parachute from said big corporation. Liberal groups have been fighting for Clinton to address golden parachutes.
The bill, which is co-sponsored by Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD), does so in many ways, most of which are the sorts of tweaks you would only see from lawmakers who really knows how this whole backscratching business is hurting the American people. That’s what makes this so interesting. It was introduced on the 5th anniversary of the Senate passing Dodd-Frank, and it’s called Financial Services Conflict of Interest Act.
Clinton and Baldwin start off by citing Lincoln’s “a government of the people, by the people, and for the people” and saying this is one of our biggest strengths. But that strength is undermined, they write, when Wall Street has a revolving door into government, when Wall Street actually pays their former employees a bonus to go work in government, when , “a public servant’s past and future are tied to the financial industry.”
You might be asking yourself, “How was this ever legal?” It is legal, it’s the way things are done right now. This might explain a little bit about how Wall Street got away with lying to investors in the lead up to the 2008 collapse, for example.
The bill they are supporting would prohibit Wall Street from giving bonuses to employees to leave to work in the public sector.
The bill is actually pretty radical in its common sense.
To prevent conflicts of interest that stem from executive Government employees receiving bonuses or other compensation arrangements from nongovernment sources, from the revolving door that raises concerns about the independence of financial services regulators, and from the revolving door that casts aspersions over the awarding of Government contracts and other financial benefits.
This would stop former government officials from lobbying in practice without needing to follow the rules in place for lobbyists. Right now, they can try to influence legislators or members of regulatory agencies. “They offer regulatory access to private interests as “outside advisors” or “strategic counselors.”
Some critics charge that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is too close to Wall Street. This might be a reaction to her time as Senator of New York, where she had to work closely with Wall Street. But being close to something also lets you see exactly where the fault lines are. However some of this criticism probably also stems from former President Bill Clinton’s deregulation efforts during his presidency and general closeness with Wall Street.
FiveThirtyEight did the math and pointed out that Hillary Clinton has always, actually, been a liberal:
Clinton also has a history of very liberal public statements. Clinton rates as a “hard core liberal” per the OnTheIssues.org scale. She is as liberal as Elizabeth Warren and barely more moderate than Bernie Sanders. And while Obama is also a “hard core liberal,” Clinton again was rated as more liberal than Obama.
These tweaks to the rules and closing of loopholes would go a long way to stopping the current practice of the government paying people who are working for an agency they are allegedly overseeing. It would actually benefit confidence in Wall Street if they weren’t allowed to lie and mislead investors. (I’ve been making this argument since the 2008 collapse, an argument first brokered to me by a conservative financial analyst who could see that the current rules were set up to aid and abet systemic abuses and dishonesty.)
Two other Democratic presidential candidates also support the bill, including Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and former Governor Martin O’Malley (D-MD).
Opponents of the bill will no doubt scream about the need for the private sector to have a seat at the table, but of course that is equivalent to white people crying about not being included in “Black Lives Matter”. The problem isn’t that the private sector isn’t being heard and doesn’t have influence. That is the opposite of the current problem.
Balance is called for. In order to restore balance, we have to empower the government to actually serve the people again. This is a never-ending fight in a democracy. The founders started it and it continues.
2:30 PM EST: Updated to reflect that Bernie Sanders and Martin O’Malley support Baldwin’s bill and that liberals groups have been pushing for Clinton address golden parachutes.
Ms. Jones is the co-founder/ editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.