White House senior adviser Valerie Jarrett served on the board of Chicago Metropolis 2020 with ShoreBank director Adele Simmons, former president of the liberal MacArthur Foundation, where she focused on “climate change” and “global governance” issues.
The bank and its employees donated some $12,000 to the Obama 2008 presidential campaign, and co-founder Mary Houghton reportedly gave advice to Obama’s late mother about small-business lending issues.
In other words: ShoreBank is too politically connected to fail. And now you, the taxpayer, may be on the hook for helping its cronies engineer a special rescue. Fox Business News reported this week that a consortium of large lenders — including Goldman Sachs, Citigroup, and GE Capital — has partnered with the feds to pitch in a combined $200 million public-private bailout. (In addition, Illinois Democratic representative Jan Schakowsky has been crusading for a state-level bailout of the beleaguered bank.) The buzz on both Wall Street and Capitol Hill is that Goldman and perhaps others in the public-private partnership were pressured to lend a hand.
It wouldn’t be the first time that businesses have felt the Obama squeeze. And it wouldn’t be the first time that Democrats exploited the financial crisis to milk public money for their banking cronies.
The laggardly House Ethics Committee is still investigating Democratic California representative Maxine Waters, who had a personal and financial stake in Boston-based OneUnited, a minority-owned bank that received $12 million in TARP bailout money under smelly circumstances. The bank’s executives donated $12,500 to her congressional campaigns. Her husband, Sidney Williams, was an investor in one of the banks that merged into OneUnited. Waters secured meetings between OneUnited execs and Treasury Department officials.
That probe has dragged on for nearly a year, which doesn’t bode well for fresh GOP demands for an investigation into the shady ShoreBank bailout. House Financial Services Committee ranking minority member Spencer Bachus (R., Ala.) has demanded that the White House cough up documentation about any overt contact with Goldman about the deal.
Team Obama is smarter than that, of course. To quote Obama’s environmental czar, Carol Browner, who pressured auto-industry execs last year to cooperate on a fuel-standards increase, they know “to put nothing in writing, ever.”