President Barack Obama and congressional Democrats are promising a climactic clash with Wall Street, but there’s a complication in their battle plan: The Democratic Party is closer to corporate America — and to Wall Street in particular — than many Democrats would care to admit.
Former White House counsel Greg Craig has just signed on as an institutional Sherpa for Goldman Sachs, the iconic financial firm facing fraud charges from the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Former House Democratic leader Dick Gephardt lobbies for Goldman Sachs, Visa and the coal industry. Former Senate Democratic leader Tom Daschle — Obama’s first choice to head Health and Human Services — is an adviser for a lobbying firm that represents Charles Schwab, Comcast, Lockheed Martin, Verizon and a host of other corporate interests.
Attorney General Eric Holder once lobbied for Global Crossing — sometimes described as the Democratic Enron — and White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel made eight figures in a little more than two years as the Chicago-based managing director at Wasserstein Perella & Co. between jobs as a senior aide in President Bill Clinton’s White House and as the congressman representing Illinois’s 5th District.
And the Democrats rode to their majorities in the House and the Senate on a wave of cash Emanuel and New York Sen. Chuck Schumer helped them raise from Wall Street. Earlier this month, a hedge fund manager at the center of the Goldman Sachs fraud case held a fundraiser for Schumer in New York.