Here are some things the Clintons do that most of America doesn’t understand:
- Using a separate email server at the State Department.
- Borrowing your friend’s private plane.
- Owning shell companies.
- Answering questions about your family foundation.
You know who does understand all that?
Wall Street does.
That’s why recent so-called scandals Hillary Clinton is facing in her presidential campaign won’t necessarily impact the money she collects from The Street.
“The Clintons are not dirty,” one young portfolio manager told Business Insider this week.
“They make appearances, get money, put it in the fund, build schools. It’s not going into their personal bank accounts. It’s the way the world works; I find nothing wrong with it.”
Lots of people on Wall Street are familiar with the hoops they and their companies must jump through to give to the Clinton Foundation. All donations must meet AML and AB+C requirements.
(That’s anti-money laundering and anti-bribery and corruption for all us civilians.)
For people who are used to giving to charitable organisations, this whole rigmarole is rather familiar.
Big donors on Wall Street are also people who may have borrowed a friend’s private plane at one point — or known someone who knows someone who has.
One thing that Clinton could do to upset Wall Street — that in fact any candidate can do to upset the industry — is talk about its money (or its taxes, or its lawsuits). That’s a no-no.
Clinton has touched on the no-no.
“There’s something wrong when hedge fund managers pay lower tax rates than nurses or the truckers that I saw on I-80 as I was driving here over the last two days,” Hillary Clinton said while on the road in America’s heartland last month. “Something is wrong when CEOs earn more than 300 times than what the typical American worker earns and when hedge fund managers pay a lower tax rate than truck drivers or nurses,” she said.
And that was more than enough. Masters of the Universe, you see, are very sensitive.
Lee Cooperman, a billionaire hedge fund manager and Goldman Sachs vet went off on these in an interview with CNN this week.
“I don’t need anybody crapping all over what I do for a living,” Cooperman, 72, told CNN Money’s Cristina Alesci.
He added that Clinton “hangs out with these people in Martha’s Vineyard and in the Hamptons and the very first thing she does is criticise hedge funds.”
Cooperman felt that Clinton’s comments were “bogus.”
“This notion of crapping all over hedge funds is so bogus it makes me nauseous. The only thing that makes me more nauseous is those hedge funds that support her,” he said.
If you think that this may be a bit of an over-the-top reaction from people who have drivers, hire private security and live in gated communities, that’s your opinion. Obama went through this. Every politician goes through this. After Occupy Wall Street it only got worse, and it’s not going to change.
All of this is means that Clinton’s campaign probably won’t go all in on populism by any means.
However, given that America is really focused on economic inequality right now, it also means you probably won’t see Clinton throwing any big parties at Goldman Sachs (where employees are actually pretty split down the middle in terms of party affiliation).
When she courts Wall Street it will be done quietly. At private dinners sponsored by bundlers who will assure the our oh-so-sensitive Masters of the Universe in attendance that her populism is just popular, and that at the end of day Clinton understands their way of life.
That’s all they really want anyway — to be understood.