Donald TrumpDonald TrumpMatt Schlapp: 5 lessons Paul Ryan hopefully learned from healthcare debate Former DNC chair: Russian election hacking an ‘act of war’ Prices dictate energy supply trends far more than policy MORE and Hillary ClintonHillary Rodham ClintonFormer DNC chair: Russian election hacking an ‘act of war’ Chelsea Clinton dismisses rumors she'll run for public office: report The Hill's 12:30 Report MORE were two of the most unpopular presidential candidates in recent history because no matter who was elected, America was getting a presidential Cabinet filled with millionaires and billionaires rife with conflicts of interest.
Gary Cohn is now Trump’s third Goldman Sachs executive to be offered an administrative position, to head the National Economic Council. Cohn is a former prolific donor to the Democrats before transitioning donations to the GOP a few years ago. When Bill ClintonBill ClintonChelsea Clinton dismisses rumors she'll run for public office: report Trump seeks to stop lawsuit from ‘Apprentice’ contestant Trump asks why Clintons' ties to Russia aren't under investigation MORE was elected in 1992, he also selected a former Goldman Sachs banker for the exact same position, Robert Rubin, who would later serve as Clinton’s Treasury Secretary.
Former Goldman Sachs investment banker Stephen Bannon was appointed as Trump’s chief strategist, and Goldman Sachs partner Steven Mnuchin was nominated for treasury Secretary.
Trump economic adviser Anthony Scaramucci worked for Goldman Sachs as a vice president of wealth management. Overall, Trump’s administration picks have embodied the insider elitist status quo his outsider campaign marketed themselves against.
The tradition of providing Goldman Sachs alums with political power and influence in every newly elected White House administration is being continued by Trump contrary to his rhetoric against Wall Street and Hillary Clinton’s strong ties to it.
One of Barack ObamaBarack ObamaTrump's approval rating sinks to 35 percent: poll The Hill's 12:30 Report Interior secretary reopens federal coal mining MORE’s top donors was Goldman Sachs, and the Wall Street firm and other big banks unduly influenced in his administration. Former Goldman Sachs employee Elena Kagan was appointed Solicitor General when Obama took office, and she was also speculated as a possible Supreme Court nominee.
From the bailout of the big banks during Obama’s administration, Goldman Sachs received $20 billion in taxpayer cash, which it used to provide their top execs with $5 billion in bonuses during the first few months of 2010.
Obama’s Treasury secretary appointed a former Goldman Sachs chief economist as president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Obama’s former chief of staff and current Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel received $3,000 a month to introduce people to Goldman Sachs while serving as Bill Clinton’s chief fundraiser.
Goldman Sachs partner Gary Gensler was appointed as Obama’s Commodity Futures Trading Commission head. Tom Donilon, Obama’s deputy national security adviser, received $4 million representing Goldman Sachs as an attorney.
Former Goldman Sachs CEO Hank Paulson served as George W. Bush’s Treasury Secretary. A former deputy secretary of State and U.S. trade representative under George W. Bush, Robert Zoellick served as a managing director for Goldman Sachs before Bush’s appointment. He is currently the chairman of Goldman Sachs’ international advisors. Goldman Sachs bankers were Jeb Bush’s most prolific donors during his failed presidential campaign this past election.
At least 30 ex-government officials are registered as lobbyists for Goldman Sachs, including a staffer of former Congressman Barney Frank, co-author of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, which Wall Street firms heavily invested in to water down.
“It is amazing to me the degree to which, say, Goldman Sachs is intertwined with the Treasury, and how they’re — there don’t seem to be any independent voices in the thick of the decision-making,” said former Wall Street trader and author of “Liar’s Poker” during an interview with CNN regarding the government’s rescue efforts of Wall Street after the 2008 economic recession they caused:
“The decision-making is all being done by people who one way or another might expect to make a lot of money from Goldman Sachs in the future.”
Goldman Sachs is one of the most heavily invested financial firms in the federal government, whether it manifests in the form of campaign donations, hiring former government officials as lobbyists, or having former employees receive appointments to powerful cabinet positions.
This revolving door is a severe impediment to enacting meaningful financial regulations and reining in Wall Street’s greed and excess because those placed in charge of leading these reforms are deeply imbedded in Goldman Sachs’ World.
Michael Sainato is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in the Baltimore Sun, the Guardian and the Huffington Post. Follow him on Twitter @msainat1.
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