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Presidential Candidates Under the Influence of Securities, Investment, and Hedge Fund Money

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In the MSNBC Debate Tuesday night, Brian Williams asked the question about foreign investment money in America and linked it to Citigroup and Merrill Lynch (which have donated a substantial amount of money to “leading” candidates) and have gone overseas.

Hillary Clinton claims she has been very concerned about “sovereign wealth funds” and raised this issue a month and a half or so ago. I’m not finding any news articles or anything on LexisNexis that is worth stating such a blatantly misleading claim. However, let’s say she has been working diligently on this issue.

Hillary’s solution for the matter is more regulation, which would deal with the effects and not the causes of foreign investment that occur when Citigroup or Merrill Lynch leave to go overseas so they can donate more money to Democratic candidates like Hillary than if they had stayed in the United States.

Hillary could not possibly go any further than “we’ve got to know more about them. They need to be more transparent. We need to have a lot more control over what they do and how they do it.” A key Clinton strategist for her is Mark Penn, a man who is the “worldwide CEO of Burson-Marsteller, one of the most powerful lobbying and public relations firms in the world.” His company represents sovereign wealth funds and last August was hired by Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, a sovereign wealth fund, to represent its interest.

Edwards answered next giving a good blast of reality but offering nothing to make people who “do not feel financially secure” have hope that they may feel financially secure in the future. He said nothing to help those who are worried about their job, healthcare, sending their kids to college, or home foreclosures although those in these problems may find it refreshing that a seasoned politician like Edwards is talking about their struggle. Yet, that’s not satisfactory or acceptable and Edwards prime weakness is that he has nothing to offer in the way of policy for alleviating these worries in America. These worries seem like something he can exploit for votes because people worried connect to his message.

Edwards is right to call for a change in America where all the economic growth does not come from “the very wealthiest Americans and the biggest multinational corporations,” but he is wrong to give Americans a false hope for change when he has no plan to offer for fixing this reality in America.

Obama responded by connecting foreign investment in some way to energy policy and then highlighting how lack of oversight has led to this (which is true but Democrats allowed this by not giving this more attention and instead focusing more on steroids or ads denigrating General Petraeus). He went on to say that “we had the mortgage industry spending $185 million on lobbying to prevent provisions such as the ones that I’ve proposed over a year ago that would say, you know, you’ve got to disclose properly what kinds of loans you’re giving to people on mortgages. You’ve got to disclose if you’ve got a teaser rate and suddenly their mortgage payments are going to jack up and they can’t pay for them. And one of the things that I intend to do as president of the United States is restore a sense of accountability and regulatory oversight over the financial markets.”

So, while we have all three of the “leading” candidates responses and while they have all mentioned foreclosures, let’s look at the money top subprime lenders are giving to them. My list of corporations to follow comes from a hearing conducted by the House Domestic Policy Subcommittee in March 2007.

Recorded in the hearing was the fact that Citigroup, Countrywide, GMAC, HSBC, JP Morgan, Washington Mutual, and Wells Fargo all originated a substantial volume of both higher cost subprime loans and lower cost prime loans. Furthermore, a pattern in the cities across America showed that the percentage of higher cost loans to lower cost was 6 times greater for African-Americans than the percentage of higher cost to lower cost was for whites and the percentage of total home purchase loans that were higher cost to lower cost was 8 times greater than the percentage of higher cost to lower cost was for whites.

To sum it up, discriminatory lending practices have fueled the subprime lending scandal. And it has been discriminatory not necessarily by just race but also by class.

According to

Citigroup employees have donated $190,500 to Hillary, $123,650 to Barack, and $28,250 to John.

Countrywide employees have donated $2,300 to John Edwards and that’s it but Countrywide was recently taken over by Bank of America and Bank of America employees have donated $46,850 to Hillary, $66,880 to Barack, and $4,800 to John.

GMAC employees have donated $1000 to Hillary, $1,750 to Barack, and $875 to John.

HSBC employees have donated $2,000 to Hillary, $4.700 to Barack, $1,300 to John.

JP Morgan employees have donated $138,800 to Hillary, $180,492 to Barack, and $7,150 to John. JP Morgan is associated with Chase Bank.

Washington Mutual employees have donated $2,800 to Hillary, $3,852 to Barack, and $0 to John.

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Kevin Gosztola is managing editor of Shadowproof Press. He also produces and co-hosts the weekly podcast, "Unauthorized Disclosure." He was an editor for
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