Special Report

Alec Baldwin Fund Tied to Wall Street, Big Oil

Actor partners with Morgan Stanley, Merrill Lynch, Exxon, and a charity that urges evading capital gains tax. 

By 10.11.11

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Well now.

Isn't this rich?

Morgan Stanley, the legendary Wall Street investment banking company founded by J.P. Morgan that took $10 billion in federal bailout funds back in 2008 during the financial crisis, is a "Corporate Partner" providing funding to the Carol Baldwin Breast Cancer Research Fund. Named for and listing as chairwoman actor Alec Baldwin's breast cancer survivor mother.

With Alec Baldwin himself serving on the Fund's "Advisory Board."

Merrill Lynch, owned by the Bank of America, is also a "Corporate Partner" with the Baldwins, the company famously teetering on the edge in the 2008 crisis and being purchased by BOA. It was eventually revealed that Merrill Lynch used some $3.6 billion to pay out in "bonuses" -- approximately a third of the amount received in federal TARP (Troubled Asset Relief Program).

Exxon Mobile has pitched in as well. The very emblem of Big Oil, Exxon Mobile is another "Corporate Partner" funding the Carol Baldwin Breast Cancer Research Fund.

That's right.

Alec Baldwin is a board member of a family charitable fund which partners with and takes money from a veritable who's who of that famous trifecta of liberal enemies: Wall Street, Big Oil and Corporations.

This would be the same Alec Baldwin who wrote this scathing piece over at the Huffington Post back in the fall of 2008 titled "To Hell With Wall Street" -- livid over the Bush administration's bailout of Wall Street demanding: "Don't give them the dough." One of the firms that took "the dough" to the tune of $10 billion -- after laying off 5,000 employees –was, yes indeed, Baldwin's "Corporate Partner" Morgan Stanley. "The dough" was eventually paid back, although not without considerable controversy surrounding the firm.

In addition to Morgan Stanley being lampooned on Saturday Night Live, a show Baldwin occasionally hosts (the skit, starring Amy Poehler, can be seen here), Rolling Stone's Matt Taibbi reported in a piece titled "The Real Housewives of Wall Street"the astonishing news that when Federal Reserve books were pried open Morgan Stanley received some $2 trillion in loans -- and that some $220 million of federal bailout money went to the wives of two Morgan Stanley executives who had no "serious history in business, apart from a few philanthropic experiences."

CBS News reported that Morgan Stanley, while receiving federal bailout funds, had some 158 subsidiaries in the tax-dodging haven of the Cayman Islands, saying: "Although proponents say most business in tax havens is perfectly legal and legitimate, it's estimated that tax havens cost U.S. taxpayers $100 billion a year in lost revenue." ABC News reported the firm threw a conference for clients at The Breakers, the luxurious hotel in Palm Beach, Florida.

As also noted in the ABC News story, one month after taking over Merrill Lynch in January of 2009 Bank of America

sponsored a five day carnival-like affair just outside the Super Bowl stadium this past week as President Obama decried wasteful spending on Wall St.

The event -- known as the NFL Experience -- was 850,000 square feet of sports games and interactive entertainment attractions for football fans and was blanketed in Bank of America logos and marketing calls to sign up for football-themed banking products."

There is as yet no evidence that federal bailout money funded the "Corporate Partnership" Baldwin's family fund lists with either Morgan Stanley or the Bank of America-owned Merrill Lynch.

Other liberal targets who have partnered with the Baldwins include all manner of corporations and others ranging from insurance companies (Liberty Mutual) to a powerful media empire (Disney) to a foundation tied to the ex-wife of Ivan Boesky, the "King of Wall Street" who went to jail for an insider trading scandal and was famously used as a role model for the "Gordon Gekko" character played by Michael Douglas in the popular film Wall Street.

The full lists of Baldwin "Corporate Partners" can be found here.

That's not all.

Over on his own Alec Baldwin website, one finds a list of "Causes" in addition to that of the Baldwin Fund that the actor favors and recommends for donations, providing links. Several feature instructions for corporate donors or those who wish to transfer that famous Wall Street entity -- shares of stock -- to the cause in question.

For example, Baldwin is a backer of the Roundabout Theatre in New York. Says Baldwin in an entry from May of this year: 

There are, of course, many great theatre companies in New York City, all presenting productions by the world's greatest writers, mounted by the world's most gifted directors and designers and cast with the world's most compelling actors. Choosing one as a favorite is impossible.

However, one of them has become a home to me…. I performed… at the (home of Roundabout Theatre) American Airlines Theatre in 2004 and returned in 200.… I love the Roundabout. It's just that simple.

In 2011, my foundation gave a gift to them to show that love. I hope you'll visit their site. Here is their link: www.roundabouttheatre.org"

Stop. Did you catch it?

What is the home of the Roundabout Theatre that Alec Baldwin loves so much and recommends? The theatre where he has twice performed? That's right. The name is American Airlines Theatre. Here's a photo of the lush interior and a history provided by Roundabout.

The theatre is named after American Airlines because of a payment for "naming rights." Roundabout offers what it calls "Our Corporate Friends" "Naming Rights & Venue Branding" opportunities, which is presumably how the lavishly refurbished theater pictured above came to name its home after an airline.

American Airlines is a subsidiary of the AMR Corporation, a commercial aviation company. And why is AMR named "AMR"? The name comes from American Airlines' "ticker symbol" on… the New York Stock Exchange. Making AMR, but of course, a card-carrying Wall Street corporation.

And American Airlines isn't the only "Corporate Friend" of this Baldwin favorite. Lo and behold there is… wait for it… Bank of America listed just below American Airlines. That would be the same Bank of America that owns Merrill Lynch. And Merrill Lynch would be the same Merrill Lynch that, yes indeed, is a "Corporate Partner" of the Baldwin Fund where Alec Baldwin sits as a Board member.

Then there's the curious case of another Alec Baldwin favorite cause listed and linked on his website and for which he seeks your contributions. That would be the Radiation and Public Health Project. This, says Baldwin, is "The group that has kept me informed for nearly twenty years about the truth regarding radiation used in public utility reactors."

This one's a beaut. Alec Baldwin, like many liberals, is not fond of nuclear power. So he supports the RPHP, which uses its money to investigate the effects of radiation. And in turn, Alec Baldwin, as seen here in a piece he wrote for the Huffington Post ("The Human Costs of Nuclear Power") uses its research to advocate his position.

But other than from Alec Baldwin, where does the RPHP get its money to do its research and keep Mr. Baldwin up to date on its findings? According to the RPHP itself, it gets financing from the "Louis and Harold Price Foundation."

Really? And where exactly did Louis and Harold Price get the big bucks to create their foundation that is funding one of Alec Baldwin's favorite causes? Let's let the Price Foundation tell us:

Through shareholdings in Sara Lee Corporation, Louis and Harold generously funded their foundation and guided its existence for many years as respective Presidents. Since its inception, The Louis and Harold Price Foundation has distributed millions of dollars to U.S. based charities in the areas of community welfare, health, and education, as well as support of programs in Israel.

The Sara Lee Corporation? You mean those nice people who churn out all those yummy pound cakes? Well, yes. And Sara Lee, which long ago began its business life selling cheese cakes named after the cute 8-year-old daughter of founder Charles Lubin, is now an American corporate giant owning multiples upon multiples of brands in that trifecta of eating -- "bakery," "beverage," and "meats." Whether you're up for a slice of Sara Lee cheese cake or a Butter-Nut Cappuccino or just want to chow down on Jimmy Dean Sausage, you're filling the coffers of the Louis and Harold Price Foundation. Coffers which then are used to fund Alec Baldwin's favorite cause -- the RPHP.

That's right. By the good offices of Wall Street, where the Sara Lee Corporation is traded daily, as seen up to the minute in this link, one of Alec Baldwin's favorite left-wing causes is floating in cheesecake and sausage cash.

There's much more. But we'll settle for just one last Alec Baldwin favorite that he points to on his website:

The New York Philharmonic: Here is Baldwin's site link, and here is some of what he writes in June of this year:

In junior high school, I had a music teacher named Mr. Stolle. He played Menotti operas for us, like The Medium. Everyone wriggled in their seats back then, but around 15 years later, everything Mr. Stolle tried to pass on to me really began to kick in….

In the Fall of 2008, the New York Philharmonic asked me to be their radio announcer. It's my favorite job that I've ever had. Last year, I was invited to join their board…. You can start listening today. Here's their link: www.nyphil.org

So Alec Baldwin is a member of the board of the New York Philharmonic as well as their radio announcer? Well. This makes following the links provided particularly interesting. Why? Because this organization on whose board Alec Baldwin sits asks ( not that you donate your pennies, nickels and dimes. No, Mr. Baldwin's favorite orchestra is asking you to -- and this is a quote -- "donate stock." Wall Street stock. Then, get this pitch:

Many people choose to contribute to the Annual Fund by transferring securities to the New York Philharmonic rather than making a direct contribution of cash. Should you choose this method of giving, you will not pay any capital gains tax on your gift, and you may be able to claim a Federal income tax deduction based on the full fair market value of the securities on the effective date of your gift.

Think of that. Alec Baldwin is a board member of an organization that is quite knowingly pushing a charity that boasts of how to avoid paying capital gains taxes -- taxes which President Obama is on record as saying should be raised out of "fairness." 

There's more, but you get the idea.

And none of this touches the obvious.

The famously liberal actor -- and for the record he's certainly a very good actor -- has had a professional career funded by movie studios and a television network dipping deeply from Wall Street pockets to pay Baldwin what the site Celebrity Networth

has estimated to be a $65 million net worth and $300, 000 per episode salary for the NBC hit series 30 Rock.

Notable of late are Baldwin's Capital One Commercials, the "few million" that a spokesman says are the proceeds (noted here) all going to various charities.

So.

What's the big deal?

Unless it can be shown that companies like Morgan Stanley or Merrill Lynch were using federal bailout funds to give the Carol Baldwin Fund, there is nothing in the least amiss here. The Carol Baldwin Fund is doing nothing at all wrong, much less is it even remotely immoral or illegal. And the same can clearly be said for Roundabout Theatre, the RPHP, and the New York Philharmonic.

The big deal?

Alec Baldwin and his liberal friends -- led by President Obama -- have gone to great lengths to gin up a feeling of anger and contempt if not sheer hatred for corporations, for Wall Street and, as they say, "Big Oil." The Occupy Wall Street circus is but one manifestation of this.

When Baldwin tweets disdainfully that "Right-wing policies benefit the rich and, after that, they benefit the rich again," he is undercutting the very sources of income that have not only made Baldwin himself -- the son of a Long Island school teacher -- a very rich man. He is casting aspersions on his own mother's surely deserving organization that is trying to find a cure for breast cancer using money from wealthy Wall Street contributors, an oil company, and various other corporations.

Beyond that Baldwin -- and he is decidedly not alone in this on the left -- fuels an image that he and his friends seem to neither understand or care about. That image?

Hypocrisy.

Talking the left-wing talk but slyly, when no one in the media is seriously paying attention, playing a double game. Hating Wall Street in public -- while vigorously courting it and taking its money in private. Money that has all those already confused Occupy Wall Street protesters even more confused.

A case in point that doesn't involve Baldwin but is exactly the same situation at work is Van Jones, the ex-Obama aide who was flushed into public view and eventually resignation by Glenn Beck over statements of an allegiance to Communism and the nuttiness surrounding 9/11 "truthers."

Mr. Jones is lending his support to the Occupiers. Says Van Jones: "Wall Street has long been the home of the biggest threat to American Democracy."

Also lending support to the Occupy Wall Street protests is one of the big unions backing both the Occupy Wall Street protests and Jones' latest progressive venture called "Rebuilding the Dream." That would be the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees -- AFSCME.

Which is to say a public employee union.

What does AFSCME president Gerald McIntee have to say about Occupy Wall Street? "We stand in solidarity with those protesting Wall Street's greed."

Really?

No, not really.

As with Alec Baldwin, a double-game is being played by Gerald McIntee -- and by Van Jones. How? What is AFSCME's Wall Street connection? Take a look at this news story over in a publication called Pensions and Investments.

It seems AFSCME has $850 million sloshing around in Goldman Sachs. Yes, that Goldman Sachs. That bluest of blue chip Wall Street firms counts AFSCME as a major, major player within.

Say again, while busily supporting the crowds yelling about "corporate greed" -- AFSCME is playing around with $850 million --almost $1 billion! -- in a bid to, as the Pensions and Investments story says, "protect and enhance the economic value of its long-term investment in Goldman Sachs."

Not, take note, withdraw the money in protest over corporate greed. Not divest itself of the $850 million and redistribute this wealth to the taxpayers from whom it originally came. And you can be certain AFSCME will not be shipping any of this to the New York Philharmonic.

No, like Alec Baldwin, the union and Mr. Jones are intent on playing the double game. Giving all the lip service in the world to "Wall Street's greed" (McIntee), the "biggest threat to American democracy" (Jones), and the need to say "The Hell with Wall Street" (Baldwin.)

So be it.

But if this is the game -- and it is the game, a game that has the potential of doing serious harm to people like Alec Baldwin's mother and other breast cancer survivors -- then it's time the behind-the-scenes reality calls up demands from those who believe Wall Street, capitalism, and free markets are in fact not only not a threat to American democracy but are fundamental to freedom itself.

How?

Demand of Baldwin, McIntee and Jones that they come clean.

Give back the money.

Divest the Carol Baldwin Fund of every last dollar taken from Morgan Stanley, from Merrill Lynch of Bank of America, from Big Oil's Exxon Mobile and every last repository of "corporate greed" -- insurance companies, Disney and the rest -- that ever gave a dime to the Baldwin Fund.

Demand that the Roundtable Theatre strip itself of the corporate greed that is symbolized by the American Airlines Theatre and its "Corporate Friend" the Bank of America. 

Demand that the RPHP give back every last dime of money taken from the shareholder earnings of the Sara Lee Corporation -- and, sadly, perhaps report the company to the ObamaCare police for making products that are raising the costs of health care for everybody else.

And let's make sure to have Attorney General Eric Holder start looking into the New York Philharmonic for urging on potential contributors to avoid paying the capital gains tax. We're sure that as a board member Alec Baldwin has some say in getting this appeal removed from the Philharmonic's website. (Although a Holder investigation might be suspect -- Mr. Holder is a former member of the "Business Board" of Verizon. Verizon -- a Wall Street "corporate greed" machine.)

Finally, let's not forget Mr. McIntee's $850 million and the double game he and Mr. Jones are playing.

The Occupy Wall Street protests are only weeks old. And already they have a credibility problem.

The Liberal Establishment -- funded by Wall Street -- is "on their side" -- erasing the "Occupy Wall Street" credibility before the group really ever got started.

Come to think of it, maybe they could talk the problem over with Alec Baldwin.

Over martinis in the conference room at Morgan Stanley.

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About the Author
Jeffrey Lord is a former Reagan White House political director and author. He writes from Pennsylvania at jlpa1@aol.com.