One reason Citigroup executives seem to have so much special influence over the political and economic decisions made by the Democratic Obama Administration is that former Citigroup executives like Louis “The Vacuum Cleaner” Susman will now be occupying official U.S. government positions like the U.S. Ambassador to the United Kingdom post.
Another reason Citigroup executives may have so much special influence over the U.S. government these days is that former staff members of some politically powerful U.S. Senators and Congressional Representatives, U.S. federal agencies or the White House are employed as Washington, D.C. lobbyists for Citigroup’s special interests.
1. Shanti Ochs Stanton http://www.opensecrets.org/revolving/rev_summary.php?id=26402
A former aide to Democratic Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi named Shanti Ochs Stanton, for example, was employed as a lobbyist in 2008 for Citigroup’s Citigroup Management Corporation lobbying firm. Before working as Speaker of the House Pelosi’s aide and then being hired to lobby for Citigroup, Ochs-Stanton was also a Floor Assistant to the former Democratic House Minority Leader Richard Gephardt. During the first half of 2008 alone, the Citigroup Management Corporation for which Pelosi’s former aide worked spent $2.8 million on lobbying the U.S. government for special favors and privileges.
2. Robert E. Barnett/Barnett, Sivon & Natter http://bsnlawfirm.com/bio_bob.htm
Citigroup’s special interests in 2008 were also represented by the lobbying firm of former Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation [FDIC] Chairman Robert E. Barnett, who was the FDIC chairman between 1976 and 1978, during the Democratic Carter Administration. Former FDIC Chairman Barnett’s lobbying firm—Barnett, Sivon & Natter P.C.— has received a lobbying income of $640,000 since 2007 from its Citigroup client.
3. Charles “Chuck” Brain/ Capitol Hill Strategies http://www.caphillstrat.com/charlesmbrain.html
The Capitol Hill Strategies lobbying firm of Charles “Chuck” Brain, the former Director of Legislative Affairs in the Executive Office of the President (when U.S. Secretary of State Clinton’s husband was President in the 1990s), also represented the special interests of Citigroup in 2008. Since 2007, former Democratic Clinton White House Director of Legislative Affairs Brain’s firm has received a lobbying income of $540,000 from its Citigroup client.
Before working in the Clinton White House and, subsequently, becoming the president of the Capitol Hill Strategies lobbying firm, Brain was a legislative aide to Democratic Rep. James Shannon of Massachusetts between 1979 and 1981 and an Assistant Staff Director of the House Ways & Means Committee between 1987 and 1994.
4. Alex Sternhell/Cypress Advocacy LLC
A former Deputy Staff Director of the U.S. Senate Banking Committee and former aide to Democratic Senator Christopher Dodd of Connecticut named Alex Sternhell, of the Cypress Advocacy LLC lobbying firm, also was a lobbyist for Citigroup in 2008. Besides lobbying for Citigroup’s special interests, Sternhell also was a lobbyist for the American Insurance Association corporate pressure group in 2008. Citigroup lobbyist Sternhell also was a former aide of Democratic Rep. Jim Bacchus of Florida and Democratic Rep. Marion Berry of Arkansas before he joined the Cypress Advocacy LLC lobbying firm.
5. Patrick Cave/Cypress Advocacy LLC
6. Ben Dupuy/Cypress Advocacy LLC
Other members of the Cypress Advocacy LLC firm who lobbied on behalf of its Citigroup client in 2008 were a former Acting Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Treasury Department and former senior advisor to Republican Rep. Richard Baker of Louisiana named Patrick Cave and a former Deputy Press Secretary of Republican Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama named Ben Dupuy. Since 2007, the Cypress Advocacy LLC firm has received a lobbying income of $370,000 from its Citigroup client.
7. G.Stewart Hall/ Ogilvy Government Relations
8. Dean Aguillen/Ogilvy Government Relations
9. Jimmy Williams
Citigroup’s special interests were also represented in 2008 by the lobbying firm of Ogilvy Government Relations, whose managing director, G. Stewart Hall, was the legislative director for Republican Senator Richard Shelby between 1994 and 1996. In addition, a former advisor to Speaker of the House Pelosi named Dean Aguillen was a senior vice-president of the Ogilvy Government Relations firm in 2008, as was a former advisor to Vice President Joe Biden and a former staff director of the U.S. Senate’s Bank Subcommittee on Economic Policy named Jimmy Williams.
Besides Citigroup, other clients for which the Ogilvy Government Relations firm (that employed former advisors to Speaker of the House Pelosi and Vice President Biden) lobbied for in 2008 included Chevron, Credit Suisse Securities, Visa, Carlyle Group and Motorola; and since 2007, Ogilvy Government Relations has has received a lobbying income of $640,000 million for representing the special interests of its Citigroup client in Washington, D.C..
10. Steven Elmendorf/ Elmendorf Strategies
11. Rob Cogorno/Elmendorf Strategies
12. Kristi Kennedy/Elmendorf Strategies
The Elmendorf Strategies lobbying firm of Steven Elmendorf, the former Chief of Staff to the former Democratic House Minority Leader Richard Gephardt, also represented the special interests of Citigroup in 2008. Since 2007, Elmendorf Strategies has received a lobbying income of $180,000 from representing its Citigroup/Citigroup Management Corporation client.
Former Democratic House Minority Leader Gephardt’s former Chief of Staff’s lobbying firm also employed a former aide to Gephart and a former aide to Democratic Rep. Steny Hoyer of Maryland named Rob Cogorno. In addition, the former Counsel and Legislative Director for Democratic Senator Paul Sarbanes of Maryland between 1999 and 2006, Kristi Kennedy, was employed by Elmendorf Strategies in 2008 to lobby on behalf of the special corporate interests of its Citigroup Management Corporation client.
Speaking of Elmendorf Strategies lobbyist for Citigroup Management Corporation Kennedy, a former Counsel to Democratic Senator Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts named Anthony Podesta was a lobbyist for the undemocratic Egyptian government of Hosni Mubarak in 2008. Podesta’s PLM Group LLC lobbying firm
—whose chairman is a former Democratic Congressional representative named Toby Moffett Jr.—received a lobbying income from clients like the undemocratic Egyptian government of $220,000 in 2007. The other lobbying firm that Senator Ted Kennedy’s former Counsel operated (and chaired himself), The Podesta Group,
received a lobbying income of $10.9 million in 2007 from representing the special corporate interests of clients such as Wal-Mart, General Dynamics, Lockheed Martin, the Corrections Corporation of America, Boeing, NPR and the Washington Post Company.
At least two lobbyists for the undemocratic Israeli government in 2008—Paul S. Berger
and Lawrence A. Schneider
—were employed, incidentally, by the lobbying firm of Arnold & Porter LLP, whose lobbying income from representing the special interest of clients like the undemocratic Israeli government in 2007 was $4.98 million.
Given the number of former U.S. government officials who now operate or work for operate lobbying firms that have received a lot of money from Citigroup executives in recent years (or from undemocratic governments like the Egyptian and Israeli governments), it’s not surprising that—despite the Obama campaign’s lofty rhetoric of “change” in 2008—in 2009 Citigroup seems to still have so much special influence over the U.S. government’s political and economic agenda. But under the current undemocratic U.S. political system of “Plutocratic Minority Rule” and “Corporate Lobbyocracy,” it’s logical that people in the United State still remain under the Iron Heel of Wall Street bankers nearly 6 months after Obama’s inauguration.
(source: Washington Representatives 2008 Fall issue)