Politics & Policy

Obama’s Fatcats

Your guide to sleazy Democratic party–backed banks.

Obama campaign adviser David Axelrod and his hatchet people are still yammering about GOP presidential rival Mitt Romney’s overseas investments. It’s time for the Romney campaign to educate voters about all the shady financial institutions embraced by Democrats right here on American soil.

Republicans can’t make the fatcat-narrative attacks go away by making nice with the White House — or by relying on Beltway journalists to drop their double standards and vet the president’s own bad-bank entanglements. Indeed, the New York Times admitted this week that their staff and other political journalists from every major media outlet submit their work to the White House for unprecedented review, editing, and “veto power.”

Fortunately, the truth manipulators and message massagers haven’t gotten to this column yet. So, let’s talk sleazy Democratic party–backed banks, shall we?

Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac. Forget Switzerland. The mother and father of all financial-industry outrages are rooted in Washington, D.C. And Obama Democrats are among the biggest winners of lavish, out-of-control compensation packages from fraud-plagued Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Obama confidant James Johnson raked in $21 million. Former Obama chief of staff and current Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel “earned” at least $320,000 for a brief 14-month gig at Freddie Mac. And Clinton Fannie Mae head and Obama economic confidant Franklin Raines bagged some $90 million in pay and stock options earned during the government-sponsored institution’s Enron-style accounting scandal on the public dime.

Self-appointed banking policewoman and DNC chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz has, uncharacteristically, kept her mouth shut about these wealthy barons.

Superior Bank. One of the Obamas’ oldest Chicago friends and wealthiest billionaire bundlers, former Obama national finance chairwoman Penny Pritzker, headed up this subprime lender. Even after it went under in 2001 and left 1,400 customers destitute, Pritzker was pushing to expand its toxic subprime-loan business. Pritzker and her family escaped accountability by forking over $460 million over 15 years. Obama happily accepted the nearly $800 million in campaign and inaugural funding Pritzker drummed up for him. To protect her family’s multibillion-dollar fortune, Pritzker’s enterprises park their money in the very same kind of offshore trusts her candidate is attacking Romney over.

Broadway Bank. In 2010, President and Mrs. Obama personally raised money for their Chicago friend and fundraiser Alexi Giannoulias. As I reported then, Giannoulias’ Greek-immigrant family founded Chicago-based Broadway Bank, a now-defunct financial institution that loaned tens of millions of dollars to convicted Mafia felons and faced bankruptcy after decades of engaging in risky, high-flying behavior. It’s the place where Obama parked his 2004 U.S. Senate–campaign funds. And it’s the same place that a mutual friend of Obama and Giannoulias — convicted Obama fundraiser and slumlord Tony Rezko — used to bounce nearly $500,000 in bad checks written to Las Vegas casinos.

Chicago’s former inspector general blasted Giannoulias and his family for tapping $70 million worth of dividends in 2007 and 2008 as the real-estate crash loomed. Broadway Bank was sitting on an estimated $250 million in bad loans. The cost to taxpayers after the bank was shut down two years ago: an estimated $390 million.

ShoreBank. The “progressive” Chicago-based community development bank, a “green” financial institution whose mission was to “create economic equity and a healthy environment,” folded in August 2010. Obama personally had endorsed the politically connected bank and appeared in a video promoting its Kenyan microlending project. But it was a doomed social-justice experiment. After regulators shut it down, Obama crony companies including Bank of America and Goldman Sachs took over the mess courtesy of taxpayer subsidies.

Countrywide/Bank of America. Earlier this month, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee released a report on corruption-plagued Countrywide Financial Corp., which was bailed out by taxpayer-bailed-out Bank of America. The House investigation confirmed the notorious favor-trading scheme, which involved sweetheart home-loan deals for members of Congress and their staff, top government officials, and executives of doomed mortgage giant Fannie Mae.

“These relationships helped [Countrywide CEO and Democratic subprime-loan king Angelo] Mozilo increase his own company’s profits while dumping the risk of bad loans on taxpayers,” according to the new report. Mozilo copped a $67.5 million plea to avert a high-stakes public trial in the heat of the 2010 midterm-election season. Since then, Obama’s Justice Department has taken no action to prosecute Countrywide officials on federal bribery charges.

Among the influence-peddling operation’s most prominent beneficiaries: the aforementioned Obama top adviser Jim Johnson, who accepted more than $7 million in below-market-rate Countrywide loans, and former Senate Banking Committee chairman Chris Dodd, whose ill-fated 2010 reelection bid was personally endorsed by Obama. Obama stood by Dodd even as sordid details of his two discounted Countrywide loans and record Countrywide PAC donations mounted.

Bank of America, which raked in $45 billion in Obama-supported TARP bailout funds and billions more in secret emergency federal loans, footed the $50 million restitution payment bill for Mozilo and another Countrywide official. In 2008, BofA’s political-action committee gave its biggest contributions to Obama, totaling $421,000. And as I noted in January, Bank of America supplied the Democrats with a $15 million revolving line of credit, along with an additional $17 million loan during the 2010 midterms.

Embarrassed by the party’s ties to shady Bank of America, progressives are now trying to rebrand the Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, N.C., where Obama will give his nomination-acceptance address. They’re referring to it as “Panthers Stadium” instead.

Obama’s copious crooked friends and funders are going to need a lot more whitewash than that to cover up their ill-gotten gains.

— Michelle Malkin is the author of Culture of Corruption: Obama and His Team of Tax Cheats, Crooks & Cronies. Her e-mail address is malkinblog@gmail.com. © 2012 Creators.com

Most Popular

The Last Days of Robin Williams

After Robin Williams hanged himself in 2014, the media speculated that financial troubles or depression related to drug or alcohol use might have been the cause. Without discussing those topics, Williams’s widow, Susan Schneider Williams, is eager to set the record straight and does so in Robin’s Wish, a ... Read More

The Last Days of Robin Williams

After Robin Williams hanged himself in 2014, the media speculated that financial troubles or depression related to drug or alcohol use might have been the cause. Without discussing those topics, Williams’s widow, Susan Schneider Williams, is eager to set the record straight and does so in Robin’s Wish, a ... Read More

In Praise of Trade School

About a decade ago, I participated in a discussion hosted by the chamber of commerce in a university town about state policies regarding higher education. I’ll never forget the first comment I got from one of the attendees. “The problem with your presentation,” she said, “is that it didn’t focus ... Read More

In Praise of Trade School

About a decade ago, I participated in a discussion hosted by the chamber of commerce in a university town about state policies regarding higher education. I’ll never forget the first comment I got from one of the attendees. “The problem with your presentation,” she said, “is that it didn’t focus ... Read More
World

Why Trump’s Mideast Peace Deals Matter

After Israel’s resounding victory over the Egyptian, Jordanian, and Syrian armies in 1967, the Jewish state again offered the Arab world peace in exchange for recognition. And it was again rebuffed. Instead, the Arab League convened in Khartoum to formulate a consensus response that became known as “The 3 ... Read More
World

Why Trump’s Mideast Peace Deals Matter

After Israel’s resounding victory over the Egyptian, Jordanian, and Syrian armies in 1967, the Jewish state again offered the Arab world peace in exchange for recognition. And it was again rebuffed. Instead, the Arab League convened in Khartoum to formulate a consensus response that became known as “The 3 ... Read More