Friday :: Apr 23, 2010

Meg Whitman (R- Goldman Sachs)

by Turkana

Poor Meg Whitman. Granted, she's the frontrunner to become California's Republican gubernatorial nominee, but this politics stuff just isn't as easy or as fun as running a business empire. In politics, you almost have to mix with the masses. You almost have to pay attention to the people. In politics, there can be public accountability.

Poor Meg Whitman. Afraid of reporters. Afraid of debates. Afraid of the public. Afraid of her own unedited blather. But at least she has friends. The only place she seems to be comfortable is with her friends. Friends such as Goldman Sachs.

From the San Francisco Chronicle:

The latest public opinion surveys on Goldman could spell trouble for Whitman, the former eBay CEO, who was paid an estimated $475,000 as a member of the Goldman Sachs board of directors for little more than a year beginning in 2001.

Whitman received $110,500 in contributions last year from her contacts at Goldman - including from two Goldman executives who are members of Whitman's campaign finance committee, according to her Web site. Investment adviser Brad DeFoor, a Goldman Sachs managing director in San Francisco, gave her campaign $24,900 and Gene Sykes, who co-chairs Goldman's global mergers and acquisitions group in Los Angeles, donated $25,900.

In addition, records show that Whitman's family foundation is administered by a Goldman Sachs subsidiary, the Ayco Company - a New York firm that manages money for wealthy families, according to its Web site. The Griffith R. Harsh and Margaret C. Whitman Charitable Foundation had $48 million in assets at the time of its 2008 tax filing.

It's good that she has friends. Granted, they're friends that are in a bit of a sticky wicket, at the moment. But they're very comfortable friends. The firm that was implicated in helping cause the financial meltdown of Greece. The firm that is alleged to have defrauded the Royal Bank of Scotland. The firm that bet on and won on the housing collapse in the United States. The firm now charged by the Securities and Exchange Commission for defrauding its customers. The firm that also does a great deal of business with financially imploding California.


Meanwhile, Goldman is a major player in California state finance. It has been the underwriter of $78.9 billion in bonds issued by the state since 2006, records show, second only to Merrill Lynch, now a division of Bank of America, which was underwriter of $79.3 billion in the same period.

Goldman was underwriter of more than 2 percent of the bonds issued by the state in the past five years, the records show. State pension funds, meanwhile, have invested more than $1.3 billion with Goldman.

The firm has sought other state business as well. In 2007, Goldman and the now-defunct Lehman Brothers investment bank pitched Gov. Schwarzenegger on an ambitious plan to boost state revenues by privatizing the California Lottery, according to news reports.

So, Californians now have a chance to elect as governor a person with deep personal and professional ties to the financial firm that has wrought destruction around the world. A firm that already has its claws deeply embedded in California's finances. Under Meg Whitman, that fun will never cease.

Poor Meg Whitman. What will she tell the voters?

Turkana :: 8:16 AM :: Comments (2) :: Digg It!