This Is How Obama’s Top Trade Representative, Michael Froman, Received Millions from Citigroup During the Financial Crisis:
Submitted by Michael Krieger, Liberty Blitzkrieg:
In a press release, the groups highlighted the links between Citigroup—which has lobbied extensively on the TPP, TTIP, and Fast Track authority—and Froman, who they note “received a more than $4 million golden parachute from Citigroup upon leaving the large financial institution to join the Obama administration in 2009.”
In particular, the letter’s signatories are concerned that provisions in proposed trade agreements like the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) or the TransAtlantic Trade & Investment Partnership (TTIP) would weaken or rollback existing U.S. financial regulations, for the benefit of big banks.
– From How Obama’s Top Trade Representative, Michael Froman, Received Millions from Citigroup During the Financial Crisis
As many people have accurately noted, what’s far more important than the President him or herself, is the people who end up surrounding the executive. These are the people who will formulate and implement various policies of national importance, particularly when it comes to enforcing, or not enforcing, the rule of law (Justice Department) and whether or not to start yet another war (Congress has abdicated its Constitutional role).
Indeed, appointing Eric Holder to head up the Department of Justice guaranteed that Wall Street criminals would never be prosecuted and led to America’s justice system rapidly devolving into Banana Republic territory.
So how did Obama end up choosing the various banker-coddling professional cronies to make up his administration? The Wikileaks Podesta email leak shines a very disturbing light upon the process, which was led by then Citigroup executive, Michael Froman. Moreover, as current U.S. trade representative, this ex-TBTF bank executive is currently the nation’s top proponent of the sovereignty-killing Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement.
As David Dayen reports over at the New Republic:
The most important revelation in the WikiLeaks dump of John Podesta’s emails has nothing to do with Hillary Clinton. The messages go all the way back to 2008, when Podesta served as co-chair of President-elect Barack Obama’s transition team. And a month before the election, the key staffing for that future administration was almost entirely in place, revealing that some of the most crucial decisions an administration can make occur well before a vote has been cast.
Michael Froman, who is now U.S. trade representative but at the time was an executive at Citigroup, wrote an email to Podesta on October 6, 2008, with the subject “Lists.” Froman used a Citigroup email address. He attached three documents: a list of women for top administration jobs, a list of non-white candidates, and a sample outline of 31 cabinet-level positions and who would fill them. “The lists will continue to grow,” Froman wrote to Podesta, “but these are the names to date that seem to be coming up as recommended by various sources for senior level jobs.”
The cabinet list ended up being almost entirely on the money. It correctly identified Eric Holder for the Justice Department, Janet Napolitano for Homeland Security, Robert Gates for Defense, Rahm Emanuel for chief of staff, Peter Orszag for the Office of Management and Budget, Arne Duncan for Education, Eric Shinseki for Veterans Affairs, Kathleen Sebelius for Health and Human Services, Melody Barnes for the Domestic Policy Council, and more. For the Treasury, three possibilities were on the list: Robert Rubin, Larry Summers, and Timothy Geithner.
This was October 6. The election was November 4. And yet Froman, an executive at Citigroup, which would ultimately become the recipient of the largest bailout from the federal government during the financial crisis, had mapped out virtually the entire Obama cabinet, a month before votes were counted. And according to the Froman/Podesta emails, lists were floating around even before that.
Many already suspected that Froman, a longtime Obama consigliere, did the key economic policy hiring while part of the transition team. We didn’t know he had so much influence that he could lock in key staff that early, without fanfare, while everyone was busy trying to get Obama elected. The WikiLeaks emails show even earlier planning; by September the transition was getting pre-clearance to assist nominees with financial disclosure forms.
The “Bob Rubin school” is named for the former top executive at Goldman Sachs and Citigroup and first Clinton administration Treasury secretary. It is composed precisely of the kinds of Democrats that the Warren wing opposes on domestic policy, particularly on financial matters. In the Obama administration, that school won out. Froman, chief of staff to Rubin at Treasury, gave options for Treasury secretary that ranged from Rubin himself to Summers and Geithner, two of his key protégés. In another 2008 email Rubin imagined for himself a “Harry Hopkins” position in the Obama administration, referring to Franklin Roosevelt’s top adviser.
The Rubin school dictated the Obama administration’s light-touch policy on bank misconduct (which resulted in no serious legal or fiduciary consequences for the major players) and its first-term approach to the financial crisis (which was defined by a stimulus package that even at the time was criticized for being woefully inadequate, as well as a premature turn to budget-cutting). These are exactly the flaws that Geldon, Warren’s emissary, stressed. According to Schwerin, he “spoke repeatedly about the need to have in place people with ambition and urgency who recognize how much the middle class is hurting and are willing to challenge the financial industry.”
Around the same time as that meeting with Geldon, the Clinton campaign was setting up a dinner meeting with its economic policy team, Geithner, Summers, and members of the investment firm Blackstone (along with Teresa Ghilarducci, a retirement security researcher)
Which side will win? The rank and file can actually have a voice in this, to make it known what personnel decisions would be acceptable or unacceptable. They can’t do it by ignoring evidence or sitting on their hands. The demand to only hold one thing in your head at a time—that Trump must be stopped—would squander this opportunity.