Special Report

The Left’s Favorite Bank

Big Government has never had a better friend than Goldman Sachs.

By 4.28.10

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In the ubiquitous echo chambers of the left, the embattled Goldman Sachs is being falsely characterized as both Republican-friendly and a symbol of free-market corruption.

Of course it's pure nonsense that has been eagerly lapped up by those who want to believe the worst about Republicans, capitalism, and America itself. The Securities and Exchange Commission lawsuit against Goldman for securities fraud was filed just in time for the bank to bend over for a televised spanking in Congress.

But Goldman, which engages in the ritual of public self-flagellation from time to time on advice of counsel, is the best friend that Democrats and leftists ever had on Wall Street. Its alumni and enablers have pushed faddish, left-wing, pro-Big Government policies for as long as I've been a journalist.

Goldman's business model is simple: the bigger and more stifling government gets, the more profit Goldman makes.

Why would a highly profitable company -- it made a staggering $3.46 billion in the first quarter– --want more regulation unless it stood to benefit from such assaults on the marketplace?

Because laissez-faire is anathema to Goldman. The high-flying bank abhors free markets with a Mussolini-like zeal. Like Il Duce and his less thuggish imitators in the welfare wasteland of modern Europe, Goldman stands for centrally managed markets, provided that it gets to make the rules.

Goldman thrives on complexity and backroom dealing. It reaps huge profits from regulations that place its smaller, less politically nimble competitors at a disadvantage.

So it should surprise no one that Goldman favors increased regulation of the economy as a matter of policy, including President Obama's Wall Street takeover bill which virtually mandates bank bailouts in perpetuity. Goldman CEO Lloyd Blankfein told reporters yesterday, "The biggest beneficiary of reform is Wall Street itself."

Blankfein echoed one of his colleagues. "We're not against regulation," a Goldman official told the Politico last week. "We're for regulation. We partner with regulators."

As the Washington Examiner's Timothy P. Carney noted, in a teleconference call for reporters last week Goldman officials affirmed no fewer than three times during the call that the company wants more federal control.

Regurgitating pious catch phrases and politically correct slogans, Goldman supports disastrous Big Government policies, including corporate bailouts, economy-killing carbon emission controls, and the financial affirmative action law known as the Community Reinvestment Act.

Through its charitable arms, the bank has lavished money on its liberal friends. Those of Goldman's donations that can be said to have an ideological dimension go almost exclusively to causes on the left.

Here are just a few:

Wildlife Conservation Society ($36,770,562 since 2004 – $35 million of it in real estate); United Nations Association of the USA ($1,000,000 since 2002); Planned Parenthood ($650,200 since 2003); National Urban League ($250,000 since 2000); Brookings Institution ($175,000 since 2003); Urban Institute ($175,000 since 2001); William J. Clinton Foundation ($167,300 since 2007); People for the American Way ($166,667 in 2007); Center for American Progress ($105,000 in 2007); Tides Foundation ($50,000 in 2007); Jesse Jackson's Citizenship Education Fund ($25,000 in 2007); and National Public Radio ($25,000 in 2007).

Despite periodically inviting a few Republicans along for the ride -- fake conservatives such as the tree-hugging Bush Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson -- Goldman is at home on the left side of the political spectrum.

It's true that in March the Goldman Sachs Group Political Action Committee gave $167,500 to Republican candidates and political entities and $123,000 to Democrats, but that only makes sense. Goldman is not stupid. Its leadership knows that Democrats will be slaughtered Bastille Day-style at the polls this November. It wants to be on the winner's good side.

Goldman's employees gave President Obama $994,795 during the last election cycle, making the employees of the bank the Obama campaign's largest private sector financial backer, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. The nearly $1 million sum is "more than the combined Goldman haul of every Republican running for president, Senate, and the House," notes Carney.

In the current election cycle, Goldman's political action committee and employees have lavished $693,675 on federal candidates and parties, with roughly 70 percent of the total sum going to Democrats. Goldman's past leadership includes former New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine (D) and former Clinton Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin (D).

The tiny transient bit of favoritism Goldman exhibited toward the GOP in March had useful idiot Frank Rich crowing in the New York Times about all the supposed connections Goldman had to Republicans.

Purple with delight, Rich cackled on about the supposed "farcical spectacle of the Republican retreat" in light of last week's SEC lawsuit regarding a securitization deal gone bad.

But the retreat Rich writes of has taken place only in his fantasies.

Even the 41 senators of the so-called Stupid Party seem bright enough to understand that their interests -- and America's -- do not coincide with those of the left's favorite bank.

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About the Author

Matthew Vadum is an award-winning investigative journalist at a conservative watchdog group in Washington, D.C. Vadum is also author of Subversion Inc: How Obama's ACORN Red Shirts are Still Terrorizing and Ripping Off American Taxpayers.