I’m always amazed that the Democrats can, with a straight face, present themselves as the party of the little people and as opposed to big business. I guess their deal is that, as long as a corrupt capitalist system exists, they should exploit it to the max, all the while working hard to destroy it so that no other poor sinners in society will be corrupted as the Dems were. Anyway, it’s slightly old news, but I still thought you’d be fascinated by how much Rahm Emanuel profited during his short stint in the private sector, especially considering how little he did and how much unethical conduct he oversaw (all emphasis mine):
Though just 49, Emanuel is a veteran Democratic strategist and fundraiser who served three terms in the U.S. House after helping elect Mayor Richard Daley and former President Bill Clinton. The Freddie Mac money was a small piece of the $16 million he made in a three-year interlude as an investment banker a decade ago.
He was named to the Freddie Mac board in February 2000 by Clinton, whom Emanuel had served as White House political director and vocal defender during the Whitewater and Monica Lewinsky scandals.
The board met no more than six times a year. Unlike most fellow directors, Emanuel was not assigned to any of the board’s working committees, according to company proxy statements. Immediately upon joining the board, Emanuel and other new directors qualified for $380,000 in stock and options plus a $20,000 annual fee, records indicate. [In other words, because he served for only 14 months, Emanuel managed to pull in more than $57,000 per board meeting, assuming 7 meetings during those fourteen months.]
On Emanuel’s watch, the board was told by executives of a plan to use accounting tricks to mislead shareholders about outsize profits the government-chartered firm was then reaping from risky investments. The goal was to push earnings onto the books in future years, ensuring that Freddie Mac would appear profitable on paper for years to come and helping maximize annual bonuses for company brass. [So Emanuel was a steward for Freddie Mac during one of its most corrupt periods.]
During his brief time on the board, the company hatched a plan to enhance its political muscle. That scheme, also reviewed by the board, led to a record $3.8 million fine from the Federal Election Commission for illegally using corporate resources to host fundraisers for politicians. Emanuel was the beneficiary of one of those parties after he left the board and ran in 2002 for a seat in Congress from the North Side of Chicago.
The board was throttled for its acquiescence to the accounting manipulation in a 2003 report by Armando Falcon Jr., head of a federal oversight agency for Freddie Mac. The scandal forced Freddie Mac to restate $5 billion in earnings and pay $585 million in fines and legal settlements. It also foreshadowed even harder times at the firm.
Many of those same risky investment practices tied to the accounting scandal eventually brought the firm to the brink of insolvency and led to its seizure last year by the Bush administration, which pledged to inject up to $100 billion in new capital to keep the firm afloat. The Obama administration has doubled that commitment.
If you were naive, you might think that the drive-by media would be all over this story, which shows a political official profiting mightily, and turning a blind eye to, a hugely corrupt enterprise that helped bring down the American economy. Those of us with a little more media sophistication, however, are unsurprised to hear nothing but the sound of crickets chirping.