Goldman Sachs: buying more elections and paying more fines
Since the 2008 economic “crisis,” there are several banks and financial institutions that have been given a de facto status of being the most egregious offenders in terms of engaging fraud and insider trading that has benefited the 1% and exploited the 99%.
CorpWatch founder and writer Pratap Chatterjee recently wrote a piece about significant fines that Goldman Sachs has paid out to the state of Massachusetts and the federal government. Accroding to Chatterjee, Goldman Sachs had to pay put $10 million to state regulators in Massachusetts and $22 million in an SEC settlement.
“From 2006 to 2011, Goldman held weekly huddles sometimes attended by sales personnel in which analysts discussed their top short-term trading ideas and traders discussed their views on the markets,” said the SEC in a press release issued earlier this week. “In 2007, Goldman began a program known as the Asymmetric Service Initiative (ASI) in which analysts shared information and trading ideas from the huddles with select clients.”
Insider trading – as we have noted before – is the practice of cashing in on information that is not known to the general public. Although it is not illegal in many other countries, the U.S. takes it very seriously and will jail violators and sometimes ban them from trading. Bigger companies – like Goldman Sachs – will typically pay out large sums in order to avoid such punishment.”
Goldman Sachs is just one of the companies that CorpWatch monitors, particularly from the banking/financial sector, but they also have data and analysis on hundreds of other corporations that is a great resource.
Despite the somewhat negative imagine that Goldman Sachs has in the public mind, it has not diminished the influence they have when it comes to lobbying and buying elections.
According to the Center for Responsible Politics, Goldman Sachs has contributed over $37 million to candidates since 1990, nearly $4 million in the 2012 election alone. During these two decades Goldman Sachs has contributed over $22 million to Democrats and nearly $15 million to Republicans. The bi-partisan nature of their electoral bribing is the norm with most Fortune 500 companies.
In 2008, the major recipients of electoral funding from Goldman Sachs were Mitt Romney at Barack Obama. It should be noted that in that same year the 10th largest recipient was Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow, who received $29,500, even though it was not a re-election year for her.
Mitt Romney and Barack Obama are the top two recipients of campaign money from Goldman Sachs in 2012, which underscores how centers of power often cover their political bases so that no matter which candidates wins, they win.
Goldman Sachs is no less involved in influencing legislative decisions, by paying millions to lobbyists to get the kind of laws that will best benefit their bottom line. For example, the company lobbied heavily on the trade bills the US was negotiating to solidify investor rights in countries like South Korea, Colombia and Panama.
It should be apparent to anyone looking at this data to draw the conclusion that not only is Goldman Sachs still engaged in fraudulent behavior, they are making sure that real democracy does not exist in the electoral and legislative arena of US politics.