Obama TPP trade officials got hefty bonuses from Big Banks as “reward” for joining govt

I’m convinced the best investigative reporter in the country is Lee Fang. Witness the following.

TPP, the Trans Pacific Partnership trade agreement still in negotiation, is a NAFTA-like treaty — it will have the legal force of a treaty — that ties the hands of any government that signs it in their dealings with big money corporations (and small ones too).

It includes a NAFTA-style trade dispute court, also legally binding, in which corps can sue cities, states, counties and nations for lost future and potential profit resulting from, for example, environmental regulations, or anything else covered by the treaty.

In a literal sense, these trade agreements are the cornerstones and building blocks of international rule by corporations. NAFTA court trumps even the U.S. Supreme Court. Its judgments are not appealable; its judges aren’t elected; only Money talks in these carefully designed agreements.

Naturally, Money wants to own the process of writing them. TPP is being written now, and some of its proposed language would handcuff governments’ ability regulate banking, especially high-risk banking like the market in derivatives. Can you see the bribery opportunity coming? Can you say Citigroup or Bank of America?

Lee Fang writing in the Republic Report (my emphasis):

Obama Admin’s TPP Trade Officials Received Hefty Bonuses From Big Banks

Officials tapped by the Obama administration to lead the Trans-Pacific Partnership [TPP] trade negotiations have received multimillion dollar bonuses from CitiGroup and Bank of America, financial disclosures obtained by Republic Report show.

Bribe corrupt politician

Corruption via Shutterstock

Stefan Selig, a Bank of America investment banker nominated to become the Under Secretary for International Trade at the Department of Commerce, received more than $9 million in bonus pay as he was nominated to join the administration in November. The bonus pay came in addition to the $5.1 million in incentive pay awarded to Selig last year.

Michael Froman, the current U.S. Trade Representative, received over $4 million as part of multiple exit payments when he left CitiGroup to join the Obama administration. Froman told Senate Finance Committee members last summer that he donated approximately 75 percent of the $2.25 million bonus he received for his work in 2008 to charity. CitiGroup also gave Froman a $2 million payment in connection to his holdings in two investment funds, which was awarded “in recognition of [Froman’s] service to Citi in various capacities since 1999.” …

Let’s see — Selig, $14 million. Froman, $6 million. Froman’s in office, but Selig is still awaiting Senate confirmation. I wonder if the millionaire Democrats in the Senate will see a conflict of interest at his confirmation hearing. Your best guess? (Mine too.)

Thank You Street, with the reward up front this time

Interesting how sometimes you get paid after you provide the service, and sometimes you get paid before. Either way, you’re paid for the service.

By the way, this totally trumps the $180,000 per year that Obama Energy liaison, Heather Zichal, is likely to get. Even though that will be for part-time work — sitting on the Board of the country’s biggest fracked gas exporter — she still has a little work to do.

Selig and Froman, they get theirs for existing, or for having existed, or being about to exist … in government. And that’s by design and out front. Fang again:

Many large corporations with a strong incentive to influence public policy award bonuses and other incentive pay to executives if they take jobs within the government. CitiGroup, for instance, provides an executive contract that awards additional retirement pay upon leaving to take a “full time high level position with the U.S. government or regulatory body.” Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, JPMorgan Chase, the Blackstone Group, Fannie Mae, Northern Trust, and Northrop Grumman are among the other firms that offer financial rewards upon retirement for government service.

Fee for service about to be rendered. How blatant is this? Very, I’d say.

There’s more in Fang’s great piece. I want to send you there rather than quote too much. The second half of his article contains further explanation of my “NAFTA-style court” comment. This really is as bad as you think it is — one-world-government scary — with Exxon and Goldman Sachs and Google and Pfizer running the show.


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Gaius Publius is a professional writer living on the West Coast of the United States.

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43 Responses to “Obama TPP trade officials got hefty bonuses from Big Banks as “reward” for joining govt”

  1. sittenpretty says:

    we are being occupied by fascist/corpratists

  2. tripleseon says:

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  3. DarleneCartangyf says:

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  4. pvequalkt says:

    again, the money mouthpieces on the right get dismissed.. but the money actually gets what they want from deomcrats. The money gets what it wants because American voters are too stupid to understand what is right in front of them.

  5. pvequalkt says:

    It’ll be a police state… THEN, when we imbeciles finally yank our melons out of our sphincters… prolly after a few more years of MOS, it’ll be the “pitchforks”… except we’re a society of guns… so many guns. I think the ISIS example may be a harbinger of what 290M americans could become. But we first gotta get smarter… THEN angrier.

  6. Bill_Perdue says:

    Oops, i hat fingered 1859 and the endo of the civil war in 1865. The CIO taht was formed out of the struggles of the 1930’s.

  7. mirth says:

    This article should include in its title “…and for those who have made our extreme wealth possible.”

    “One percenter businessman warns: ‘The pitchforks are coming . . . for us plutocrats’

    Hanauer highlights how bad the situation has gotten in recent years, noting that ‘the divide between the haves and have-nots is getting worse really, really fast. In 1980, the top 1 percent controlled about 8 percent of U.S. national income. The bottom 50 percent shared about 18 percent. Today the top 1 percent share about 20 percent; the bottom 50 percent, just 12 percent.’

    ‘No society can sustain this kind of rising inequality. In fact, there is no example in human history where wealth accumulated like this and the pitchforks didn’t eventually come out,” Hanauer cautions his fellow rich. “You show me a highly unequal society, and I will show you a police state. Or an uprising. There are no counterexamples. None. It’s not if, it’s when.'”


    His remedial suggestion of a minimum wage raise to $15 p/h seems puny, but with daily news demonstrations of utterly ruthless militarized-police power over us, I think it’s a good first step. At the least, people could afford to buy the sturdiest pitchforks.

  8. Houndentenor says:

    I don’t see it happening. We would need a balance shift in SCOTUS and Congress to pass bills cutting off their own source of easy money. The first is possible but the latter is like asking the meth heads to give up their meth. All of them. At the same time.

  9. Colin says:

    Much happened between 185and 1859 not the least of which was the Panic of 1857 not to mention Dred Scott. But pardon my ignorance as to which CIO you are referring to Bill. The one that comes first to mind did not begin till 1935.

  10. mark_in_toronto says:

    One solution would be campaign finance reform.
    But, that will NEVER happen.

  11. mark_in_toronto says:

    It’s as if this was all planned around the time when Bush was deemed a failure by his own handlers. And since that didn’t work, another approach was in order – the solution:
    TPP and a puppet president in the White House with a pure, unadulterated grab for world domination by a chosen few.
    Looks like it might work this time . . . because people can’t object to something they’ve never even heard of.

  12. Bill_Perdue says:

    I agree. 1775-1783, 1859-1854 and the rise of the CIO were also extremely fierce and occasionally brutal processes. That’s to be expected when the rich and their defenders are so violent. No one is more violent that the American ruling class.

  13. Colin says:

    I have heard figures as high as 3-4 million what could have been good paying jobs lost due to NAFTA.
    What a swell idea that is. Thought up by republicans and signed by a democrat.
    I do not mind helping out someone in need. Not at all. But Americans are my family and I should not have to take the food out of my family’s mouth and give it away. My family should not have to apologize in that way for being Americans. But hey , as long as the country is split and they can blame the poor for being poor they can grab all they want.

  14. Colin says:

    You’re right Bill but Americans have a propensity for taking a lot of crap and trusting in providence until they have to start throwing things to get the job done. We now put more people in prison than any other “advanced” country including the communist states. There is so much wealth and power concentrated in so few hands that I fear this time around it could get very messy.

  15. Houndentenor says:

    Yes, and how does that work out for England. Treating government like any other civil service job? Thankfully we don’t run our executive branch that way.

  16. Houndentenor says:

    They backed him when it was clear he was going to win. If you don’t donate to a candidate, he doesn’t return your calls. Having been there when a certain CEO made sure the President was on hold before picking up the call they had arranged, I saw first-hand how this works. You don’t pay, you get ignored for the next 2, 4 or 6 years. They all know this. As much as I rant about how it’s legal for big donors to bribe elected officials, it is just as often the campaign staff that shakes down donors with threats of being locked out (when their competitors aren’t). None of this should be legal. It’s certainly unethical. And again, it happens because most of these seats and jobs are “safe”. They are more afraid of losing that money than they are of not being re-elected. (And of course they need the money for the campaign.) The one thing that I can say for the Tea Party is that many in Congress are now afraid of voters. (There’s a lot wrong with the Tea Party. Their outrage is justified. It’s just misdirected.)

  17. trinu says:

    Except the TPP is irrelevant to the South China Sea and to any mutual defense treaty.

  18. Bill_Perdue says:

    Hi Colin. You’re right. The fix is on. The difference is that now most working people know about it and will be reacting on that knowledge sooner or later.

  19. kenburkett202 says:

    up to I
    looked at the check which had said $8334 , I have faith …that…my brother
    could actualy receiving money parttime from there pretty old laptop. . there
    mums best friend started doing this 4 only 6 months and resently took care of
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  20. DaynaGuiguipyt says:

    Jacqueline implied I’m taken by surprise that a mom can earn $8130 in 1 month
    on the computer . see post F­i­s­c­a­l­p­o­s­t­.­C­O­M­

  21. Bill_Perdue says:

    I forgot again. Thanks GP. Excellent post that gets to the heart of the matter.

  22. Houndentenor says:

    They are beholden to the big donors. They can’t run without them. The rest of us are a nuisance that occasionally cause them problems when they run for re-election (usually at the primaries because mos House seats are so Gerrymandered that if they win the primary they are assured re-election). The movie Bullworth parodied this brilliantly.

  23. Houndentenor says:

    Here’s what happens once they get elected. Whatever they intended (“lie” implies intent. I have no idea if he was sincere or not when he made those promises). Then once elected they are sealed in a cocoon. Some of that is for the president’s protection (Just finished reading a book about the Secret Service and it’s scary how many nutjobs are out there) but it also means that they meet with reps of special interests and hardly ever interact with real people. Our concerns get lost as they are not represented by anyone. If only we were billionaires then we could buy access too. It happens to all of them. I’m not sure what the solution is.

  24. nicho says:

    which is shocking considering his opponents

    Not shocking at all. The one things that banks and The Street hate are uncertainty. McCain and Whats-her-name were loose cannons. You couldn’t rely on them from one day to the next — except for them to be batshit crazy. Obama has been in the neoliberal pipeline for a long time, being groomed well for the job he’s doing. That’s why he rose to the top so quickly. I’ve often said that in a parliamentary system — like England — Sarah Palin never would have gotten anywhere near the top spot. It’s the same with Obama. His resume was paper thin before he was running for president. In England, he’d still be a very junior member of the cabinet — if that.

  25. Ford Prefect says:

    Actually, Obama campaigned on putting NAFTA in review. He implied that meant he would actually change something while not actually promising to do so. This is the entire problem with his rhetoric, of course. He speaks out of both sides of his mouth, so one person will hear one thing, while someone else will hear something else.

    He also said he would support labor while being “pro-business.” Which of those two terms rings more true? He said climate change had to be dealt with, but he didn’t promise to do it himself. The template is this: State a problem in a way everyone understands, then propose “solutions” that either can’t possibly solve the problem or simply kick the can down the road because “gridlock.” Ideally, he finds a strawman he can knock down.

  26. Moderator4 says:

    Just put it in a response to a comment, as you did. We will see it.

  27. Colin says:

    No problem mate. I wasn’t sure how to let everyone know. If there is a way just let me know.

  28. Moderator4 says:

    And thank you for the “heads up” regarding the name change, Pappy/Colin. This let’s us know that you are not a sock puppet. ;)

  29. lynchie says:

    He lied because he can and he knows you can’t do a fucking thing about it. He was always connected to big business and wall street once he snowed (I voted for him as well) us he just did what comes natural to politicians–fuck the votes they served their purpose. He really is despicable that is what Hillary is just as much of a fucktard. I especially like her whine “Bill and I had no money when he left office. Bill and Hillary never had a real job, were always looked after and it continues with Chelsea. $600.000 for a couple hours work for NBC, and they wonder why people are pissed. Chelsea even and Vernon Jordan get her a job as a Hedge Fund Manager on ?Wall Street. Wish all these fuckers could manage a days work in favor of the average American.

  30. Colin says:

    I’ve used the analogy of two baseball teams talking trash at one another before the game but being joined at the hip when the money is talked about. No difference here. The real objective is money and power. Nothing else that we may have gained or wanted to gain is going to matter in the future if we do not have the power to keep it. Good comment Bill. By the way , it’s Pappy. I felt like a change.

  31. Naja pallida says:

    Many times, on many different issues.

  32. Bill_Perdue says:

    It’s what he and all politicians are paid to do.

  33. Richard says:

    So basically Obama lied right to our faces.

  34. Naja pallida says:

    See Bill’s post just below yours. :)

  35. Richard says:

    Globalist agenda to give away the wealth of the USA so we can get put on a 1 world currency.

  36. Richard says:

    Why is Obama pushing TPP?? Didn’t he campaign saying we need to end these horrible free trade deals??? Thats why I voted for him!!

    Why did Obama lie to us who voted for him and supported him?

  37. Bill_Perdue says:

    The Obama regime is utterly corrupt. That corruption flows from the fact that Obama and the politicians around him and the Congress do not compete for office to aid working people, the majority, but to be of service to the rich.

    Republican regimes are very much the same except that they are often led outright by the rich. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OQMiMA-EKS4

    That distinction between the twin parties is becoming less true as Democrats claw their way into the upper class with bribes. “How the Clintons went from ‘dead broke’ to rich: Bill earned $104.9 million for speeches – Over seven frenetic days, Bill Clinton addressed corporate executives in Switzerland and Denmark, an investors’ group in Sweden and a cluster of business and political leaders in Austria. The former president wrapped up his European trip in the triumphant Spanish Hall at Prague Castle, where he shared his thoughts on energy to a Czech business summit. His pay: $1.4 million.http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/how-the-clintons-went-from-dead-broke-to-rich-bill-earned-1049-million-for-speeches/2014/06/26/8fa0b372-fd3a-11e3-8176-f2c941cf35f1_story.html?wpisrc=nl%5Fhdtop

    Both parties are led by political prostitutes. They may pretend otherwise but any scientific and objective examination of the facts proves that the characterization ‘political prostitutes’ is accurate. Those who pretend otherwise are in the wrong party and will have to become independent if they want to keep up the pretense.

    No amount of “Hope and Change” hype can alter the fact that the Democrats and Republicans are the wholly owned political instruments of the rich. Any level of support for either party is, in reality, support for their joint program of enriching the rich, busting unions, cutting wages and benefits, welfare and entitlements, attacking civil liberties and engaging in endless wars of aggression to benefit the rich.

    1776 and 1860 were just the start. We need a new and fundamental change in government – a workers state – to complete what was started in 1775 at Lexington and Conrad and 1859 at Harper’s Ferry.

  38. Linda Ross says:

    Because, if you haven’t already noticed, the government doesn’t care what you think.

  39. Ford Prefect says:

    They stand to make a killing. And a fortune.

  40. Colin says:

    And so the noose grows tighter

  41. Elijah Shalis says:

    Why do both GOP and DEM Presidents keep pushing these free trade agreements when neither of their bases support them.

  42. AndyinChicago says:

    TPP was bad news from the get go, but really, it’s kinda what I expected from the Obama administration. He was the bank’s choice in the 2008 primary, which is shocking considering his opponents. Of course his Wall Street reforms would be tepid at best, and his policing of the revolving door with lobbying and the financial markets would be minimal. Still, TPP is offensive on all fronts, allowing large US corporations legal bullying rights and screwing over workers around the world, not to mention here.

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