Progressive Groups Push Sec. Clinton On Wall Street’s “Golden Parachutes” For Government Service by Rootstrikers
Letter Asks if Clinton Will Put an End to Past Support for Controversial Pay Packages
Washington, DC — Today, eight organizations representing more than nine million Americans delivered a letter to Secretary Hillary Clinton requesting a clear response regarding her positions relating to the revolving door between Wall Street and government.
The letter, signed by Rootstrikers, Democracy for America, CREDO Action, MoveOn.org Political Action, Center for Popular Democracy Action, The Other 98%, Friends of the Earth Action, and American Family Voices, asks whether Secretary Clinton continues to support “golden parachute” bonuses for Wall Street executives who take government positions or whether she will join others in the Democratic field in opposing them.
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“Americans are sick and tired of the Wall-Street-to-Washington revolving door, and are looking for a presidential candidate who will take concrete steps to fight it,” said Kurt Walters, campaign manager of Rootstrikers. “Secretary Clinton hasn’t yet shown that she is that candidate, but we hope her responses to these questions will demonstrate she shares these progressive priorities.”
Since mid-July, progressive groups including Rootstrikers, DFA, and CREDO have rallied around Sen. Tammy Baldwin’s “Financial Services Conflict of Interest Act” – legislation that would slow down the revolving door between Wall Street and Washington and, among other provisions, ban golden parachutes for government positions.
To date, more than 115,000 citizens have signed petitions calling on 2016 presidential candidates to support Sen. Baldwin’s bill to fight the Wall Street- Washington revolving door. An additional 111,000 people have signed a CREDO Action petition urging members of Congress to support the bill. This support was also voiced by Senator Elizabeth Warren, who called the legislation “a bill any presidential candidate should be able to cheer for” and encouraged progressives to press 2016 candidates on it at Netroots Nation conference in July.
While two of Secretary Clinton’s primary election opponents – Sen. Bernie Sanders and Gov. Martin O’Malley – have endorsed the legislation, Clinton herself has declined to address it.
“It’s hard to imagine Democrats’ 2016 nominee will be truly tough on Wall Street banks that break the law, if they won’t commit to banning their advisors from receiving legalized bribes from those same banks,” said Charles Chamberlain, Executive Director of Democracy for America. “Allowing Wall Street bankers who’ve recently received ‘golden parachutes’ into your administration is a little like serving a fox a chicken sandwich before sticking them on hen house guard duty – it’d be funny if it weren’t so obviously boneheaded.”
“The revolving door between government and Wall Street helps the wealthiest few hijack our democracy for their own gain,” said Murshed Zaheed, deputy political director at CREDO Action. “Americans cannot afford to have another administration from either party filled with Wall Street executives with multi-million dollar golden parachutes.”
The groups’ letter specifically asks Clinton to clarify her position on the “Financial Services Conflict of Interest Act” and also to respond to two questions regarding the practice of Wall Street executives receiving golden parachutes to take government positions:
- “Do you still support the use of this controversial compensation practice?”
- “If you become President, will you allow officials who enter your administration to receive this sort of bonus?”
The groups note that two of Clinton’s closest aides at the State Department, former Deputy Secretary Tom Nides and former undersecretary Robert Hormats, took golden parachutes worth millions of dollars to serve work under her. Both men remain close to Clinton’s orbit and Nides has been reported to be a potential chief of staff in a Clinton White House.
“Who you hire to implement and advise on policy, is almost more important than the policy itself. Secretary Clinton must commit not to employ Wall Street bankers who have received golden parachutes, should she be elected President,” said Erich Pica, president, Friends of the Earth Action.
“Any Democratic candidate asking voters to send them to the Oval Office should commit clearly to stopping the revolving door that sends lobbyists back and forth from Wall Street banks to the halls of the West Wing,” said Ilya Sheyman, executive director of MoveOn.org Political Action. “It’s far past time to curb the corrupting influence of big money on politics, and we can begin with a strong commitment to end the practice of ‘golden parachute’ bonuses for Wall Street officials who take influential positions in the federal government.”
“Golden parachutes” for government service are highly controversial because it is unclear how they serve the interests of bank shareholders unless they are intended to curry favor and influence with newly minted government officials. After all, bonuses are generally intended to reward valuable executives for staying at a company – not for leaving it. If it is the case that the parachutes intend to influence new government officials, they fall just millimeters short of violating federal criminal bribery statutes and create significant harm to the public interest.
Rootstrikers is a new generation of activists taking a stand against the corrupting influence of money in politics and Wall Street’s attempts to rig the game against everyday Americans. We are a project of Demand Progress.