America's Ten Most Corrupt Capitalists
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As it turns out, Goldman was the top beneficiary of the AIG bailout, to the tune of $12.9 billion. Friedman made millions on the Goldman stock purchase, and is yet to disclose what he knew about where the AIG money was going, or when he knew it. Either way, it's pretty bad—if he knew Goldman benefited from the bailout, then he belongs in jail. If he didn't know, then what exactly was he doing as chairman of the New York Fed, or on Goldman's board?
7. Robert Steel
Like better-known corruptocrats Robert Rubin and Henry Paulson, Steel joined the Treasury after spending several years as a top executive with Goldman Sachs. Steel joined the Treasury in 2006 as Under Secretary for Domestic Finance, and proceeded to do, well, nothing much until financial markets went into free-fall in 2008. When Wachovia ousted CEO Ken Thompson, the company named Steel as its new CEO. Steel promptly bought one million Wachovia shares to demonstrate his commitment to the firm, but by September, Wachovia was in dire straits. The FDIC wanted to put the company through receivership—shutting it down and wiping out its shareholders.
But Steel's buddies at Treasury and the Fed intervened, and instead of closing Wachovia, they arranged a merger with Wells Fargo at $7 a share—saving Steel himself $7 million. He now serves on Wells Fargo's board of directors.
8. Henry Paulson
His time at Goldman Sachs made Henry Paulson one of the richest men in the world. Under Paulson's leadership, Goldman transformed from a private company ruled by client relationships into a public company operating as a giant global casino. As Treasury Secretary during the height of the financial crisis, Paulson personally approved a direct $10 billion capital injection into his former firm.
But even before that bailout, Paulson had been playing fast and loose with ethics rules. In June 2008, Paulson held a secret meeting in Moscow with Goldman's board of directors, where they discussed economic prognostications, market conditions and Treasury rescue plans. Not okay, Hank.
9. Warren Buffett
Warren Buffett used to be a reasonable guy, blasting the rich for waging " class warfare" against the rest of us and deriding derivatives as " financial weapons of mass destruction." These days, he's just another financier crony, lobbying Congress against Wall Street reform, and demanding a light touch on—get this— derivatives! Buffet even went so far as to buy the support of Sen. Ben Nelson, D-Nebraska, for a filibuster on reform. Buffett has also been an outspoken defender of Goldman Sachs against the recent SEC fraud allegations, allegations that stem from fancy products called "synthetic collateralized debt obligations"—the financial weapons of mass destruction Buffett once criticized.
See, it just so happens that both Buffet's reputation and his bottom line are tied to an investment he made in Goldman Sachs in 2008, when he put $10 billion of his money into the bank. Buffett has acknowledged that he only made the deal because he believed Goldman would be bailed out by the
10. Goldman Sachs
No company exemplifies the revolving door between Wall Street and Washington more than Goldman Sachs. The four people on this list are some of the worst offenders, but Goldman's D.C. army has includes many other top officials in this administration and the last.
Joshua Bolton, chief of staff for George W. Bush, was a Goldman man
Current New York Fed President William Dudley is a Goldman man
Current Commodity Futures Trading Commission Chairman Gary Gensler has been a responsible regulator under Obama, but he was a deregulatory hawk during the Clinton years, and worked at Goldman for nearly two decades before that.
A top aide to Timothy Geithner, Gene Sperling, is a Goldman man
Current Treasury Undersecretary Robert Hormats is a Goldman man
Current Treasury Chief of Staff Mark Patterson is a former Goldman lobbyist
Former SEC Chairman Arthur Levitt is now a Goldman adviser
Neel Kashkari, Henry Paulson's deputy on TARP, was a Goldman man
COO of the SEC Enforcement Division Adam Storch is a Goldman man
Former Sen. John Corzine, D-N.J., was Goldman's CEO before Henry Paulson
Rep. Jim Himes, D-Conn., was a Goldman Vice President before he ran for Congress
Former House Minority Leader Dick Gephardt, D-Mo., now lobbies for Goldman