It took former POTUS Obama one year to go from the White House to Wall Street, earning big time paydays from heavyweight financial institutions.
None of this should surprise anyone. This is how corruption is done in American politics.
Obama promised to look out for the best interests of Wall Street while in office, and in return Wall Street would reimburse Obama once he left office.
Hillary Clinton says she made a mistake when she gave speeches on Wall Street after leaving government. Taking money from banks, she writes in her new memoir, created the impression she was in their pocket.
Her old boss doesn’t seem to share her concern.
For a man who once criticized the Clinton Foundation for taking millions of dollars in ‘donations’ from Wall Street “Fat Cats,” Obama seems to be in a rush to replicate the lucrative Clinton scam via his very own Obama Foundation.
Bloomberg reports that since leaving office in January, Obama has collected millions in speaking fees from the same Wall Street banks that paid Hillary Clinton for her speaking engagements.
Last month, just before her book “What Happened” was published, Barack Obama spoke in New York to clients of Northern Trust Corp. for about $400,000, a person familiar with his appearance said. Last week, he reminisced about the White House for Carlyle Group LP, one of the world’s biggest private equity firms, according to two people who were there. Next week, he’ll give a keynote speech at investment bank Cantor Fitzgerald LP’s health-care conference.
Obama is coming to Wall Street less than a year after leaving the White House, following a path that’s well trod and well paid. While he can’t run for president, he continues to be an influential voice in a party torn between celebrating and vilifying corporate power. His new work with banks might suggest which side of the debate he’ll be on and disappoint anyone expecting him to avoid a trap that snared Clinton. Or, as some of his executive friends see it, he’s just a private citizen giving a few paid speeches to other successful people while writing his next book.
“He was the president of the entire United States — financial services are under that umbrella,” said former UBS Group AG executive Robert Wolf, an early supporter who joined the Obama Foundation board this year. “He doesn’t look at Wall Street like, ‘Oh, these are individuals who don’t want the best for the country.’ He doesn’t stereotype.”
Zerohedge notes that all Obama needs to do is use his foundation to raise money for Hurricane Irma victims in Barbuda, use that money to hire his buddies to rebuild the island and then sit back and wait for the kickbacks to roll in…then the transition to the Clinton Foundation will be complete.
Bloomberg reports that Obama’s speeches went unreported by the mainstream media, which to this day continues to protect their neo-liberal messiah..
Obama’s appearance at the Carlyle conference in Washington was previously unreported. The private equity giant has enjoyed some of the best political connections in the world, with executives and advisers who have included former presidents, prime ministers and cabinet secretaries. Obama discussed his life and the decisions he made in the White House, the people who heard him said. A spokesman for the firm wouldn’t comment.
Northern Trust is a bank that specializes in wealth management for rich families and services for big funds. The event had gone unreported, but a program accessible on the firm’s website lists Obama alongside executives from Microsoft Corp., IBM and Michael Bloomberg, majority owner of Bloomberg LP.
Northern Trust, based in Chicago, gave Obama a discount on a $1.32 million loan for a mansion in that city in 2005, after he was elected to the Senate, the Washington Post reported. The rate was changed to account for an offer from another lender, a spokesman for Obama said three years later. Doug Holt, a spokesman for Northern Trust, wouldn’t comment for this story.
The former POTUS ignores obvious conflicts of interest, as Obama has decided to be an outspoken critic of President Trump and exert his influence in the political world.
But Jeff Hauser, who studies political corruption as head of the Revolving Door Project in Washington, said Obama should play by the same rules as other politicians because of his ongoing work with the Democratic Party.
“He’s continuing to exercise the authority,” Hauser said, citing Obama’s support for the party’s redistricting committee and the push he gave Tom Perez in the race to head the Democratic National Committee. If he wants to play a role, “he ought to forgo a few hundred thousand here and maybe a half-million there.”
“Not everyone’s going to be a Jimmy Carter, who does purely good works after he gets out,” said Sean Coffey, a Democratic donor who chairs the complex litigation group at corporate law firm Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP. Obama is used to being criticized, the attorney added. “I don’t think getting any grief for doing this is going to bother him at all.”