Someday, when we stop congratulating ourselves for electing Barack Obama, we may realise that he’s actually a politician and many of his closest advisers aren’t washed up left-wing terrorists ideologues, they’re political fixers and fund-raisers. His very first appointment, naming Rahm Emanuel as his chief of staff, decisively demonstrates this.
As it turns out, Emanuel is not just a product of the Cook County political machinery. He’s also Wall Street’s favourite lawmaker, garnering more donations from financial firms than just about anyone else on the planet, according to the Washington Examiner’s Tim Carney.
“His record suggests he will be the financial industry’s man inside the Obama White House,” Tim (my brother) writes. “At a time when the Washington-Wall Street relationship is changing rapidly, will Emanuel be the man to guarantee it’s change the Wall Street firms need?”
Tim explains the depth of this connection:
Considering Obama’s promises to stand up for Main Street and take on Wall Street, Emanuel’s deep ties with Wall Street are noteworthy. Emanuel was a chief advocate of the $700 billion Wall Street bailout this fall, toiling to pass it through the House after it was first rejected.
Just as Emanuel has helped Wall Street, Wall Street has helped Emanuel. This past election cycle, more than a third of Emanuel’s campaign contributions from political action committees came from financial sector PACs.
His top source of campaign funds this year was the subprime-rattled UBS (the Swiss bank’s PAC and employees gave, corporations cannot give campaign contributions), who benefited from the housing bailout which Emanuel supported and has already shown an interest in expanding.
Hedge funds and private equity firms are also close with Emanuel. Over his career, Emanuel’s best source of funds has been the private equity firm Madison Dearborn Partners. Hedge funds, facing a new slew of regulations, handouts, and rules, dramatically increased their contributions this year, and Emanuel was also their favourite House member.
The $96,900 Emanuel pulled in from hedge funds places him above any Senator besides presidential candidates. In fact, Emanuel garnered from hedge funds more than the top 11 Republican lawmakers, combined.
Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan are also in Emanuel’s top-five career sources of campaign cash. As reported by the centre for Responsive Politics, Emanuel received more money from the securities and investment industry—$600,500 as of September 30—than did any other member of the U.S. House, and more than two presidential candidates (including Joe Biden) and the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee.
Commercial banks lined Emanuel’s pockets, too, with $121,100, placing him fourth among House members.