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According to the Collins English Dictionary 10th Edition fraud can be defined as: "deceit, trickery, sharp practice, or breach of confidence, perpetrated for profit or to gain some unfair or dishonest advantage".[1] In the broadest sense, a fraud is an intentional deception made for personal gain or to damage another individual; the related adjective is fraudulent. The specific legal definition varies by legal jurisdiction. Fraud is a crime, and also a civil law violation. Defrauding people or entities of money or valuables is a common purpose of fraud, but there have also been fraudulent "discoveries", e.g. in science, to gain prestige rather than immediate monetary gain
*As defined in Wikipedia

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Wealth and Power: Goldman Sachs and Legislators -- Cozy and Rich Relationship

When legislators are elected to serve the people of the United States, either in the Senate or the House, they are expected to make and pass laws that will be to the benefit of the people. When those same legislators have their money invested with Goldman Sachs and when those same legislators are given campaign money from Goldman Sachs, those actions are clearly identifiable as "conflicts of interest." Conflicts of interest play a big part in the corruption of the political and legislative process.

If you invested in Goldman Sachs, then you would not want laws that prohibit Goldman Sachs from making a profit that you will gain by; similarly, if Goldman Sachs "invested" in a candidate running for the Congress, the candidate would feel obligated to respect Goldman Sachs's ability to make money. Both scenarios scream: Conflict of Interest!

In a piece called Many Influential Lawmakers Invested in Wall Street Giant Goldman Sachs by Seth Cline in OpenSecretsblog, we find that 19 members of Congress had Goldman holdings during 2010, 9 of which sit on powerful committees or committees that regulate Goldman Sachs.

On the other side of the coin, Goldman Sachs employees and PACs contributed a total of $124,000 to 12 of those lawmakers.

House Speaker, Boehner, and House Majority Leader, Canter, each has an average of $32,500 invested with Goldman. Both have received money from Goldman. Senators, too, have invested in Goldman in 2010, two have power on the Joint Select Committee of Deficit Reduction.

There is no need to wonder where the influence and power lie. As someone observed, there is no longer any revolving door between Goldman and the government, they are one and the same. In spite of open and acknowledged conflicts of interest between GS and the Congress/Senate, things do not change. The Congress and Senate do not exist to make its members wealthy but that seems to be the result.

Many Influential Lawmakers Invested in Wall Street Giant Goldman Sachs
By Seth Cline - OpenSecretsblog

Goldman Sachs, the most notorious investment bank on Wall Street, has two things in common with the legislators with significant investments in the company: wealth and power.

According to research by the Center for Responsive Politics, 19 current members of Congress reported holdings in Goldman Sachs during 2010. Whether by coincidence or not, most of these 19 Goldman Sachs investors in Congress are more powerful or more wealthy than their peers, or both.

Nine of them sit on either the most powerful committee in their chamber or committees charged with regulating the Wall Street giant. Moreover, seven of them are among the 25 wealthiest members of their respective chambers, according to the Center's research.

And of the six lawmakers who fall into neither category, two are the most influential Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives: House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.).

Altogether, the 19 had at least $480,000 and as much as $1.1 million invested in Goldman Sachs in 2010, the most recent year personal finance data are available. That's an average of about $812,900 for these 19 lawmakers' holdings combined.

Lawmakers are only required to report their personal assets and liabilities in broad ranges, meaning it's impossible to know the precise value of these holdings. The Center uses the minimum and maximum values listed on the filings to calculate an average value for each asset and liability.

But these financial interests are not a one-way street: Goldman Sachs employees and its political action committee have contributed about $124,000, combined, to a dozen of the lawmakers who reported holdings in the company in 2010, according to the Center’s research. This includes all money given during the 2010 election cycle and thus far in 2011.


The congressional Goldman Sachs investors wield considerable influence in both chambers, either through powerful committees, leadership positions or committee assigned to overseeing Goldman and the big-money interests on Wall Street.

In the leadership category are names such as Boehner and Cantor, each of whom has an average $32,500 invested in Goldman.

Goldman Sachs’ employees, meanwhile, have also contributed heavily to Boehner and Cantor.

Boehner has received $29,500, and Cantor $48,000, from them since 2009, according to the Center's research.

Other Goldman investors with this kind of power include two members of the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, better known as the debt supercommittee.

The first, Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.), reported $1,177 invested in Goldman in 2010, and, as minority whip, is the second highest ranking Republican in the Senate.

And not only is Kyl a member of the supercommittee and party leadership, he also sits on the Senate Finance Committee, which regulates Goldman Sachs and its peers on Wall Street.

Another one of Kyl’s colleagues on the supercommittee, Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.), is also a Goldman investor.

Upton had an average of $8,000 invested in the company in 2010, according to the Center's research.

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), is another influential Goldman shareholder in Congress.

Ryan sits on two very important House committees: the Budget Committee, which he chairs, and the Ways and Means Committee.

Ryan reported an average of $8,000 invested in Goldman and has received $5,800 from the company’s employees so far this year after receiving $10,000 from them during the 2010 cycle, according to the Center's research.

One of Goldman Sachs’ most valuable congressional investors is Rep. Randy Neugebauer (R-Texas), whose average of $550,000 in investments in the company is far and away the most in Congress.

Additionally Neugebauer sits on the House Financial Services Committee, which oversees Wall Street and the securities and investment industry of which Goldman is a part.

That also helps explain the $9,500 Goldman Sachs employees have contributed to Neugebauer since January 2009 through the company’s political action committee.

Rep. Gary Peters (R-Mich.) is another Goldman Sachs investor on the Financial Services committee. He has an average of $8,000 invested and has received $4,500 from the company this year from its PAC.

See the chart showing legislators who have invested in GS and read the remainder of the article here


C sweep said...

And you wonder if it can happen -- it, incidentally, being the people banding together and saying "no more fraud damnit!"
Yes, it can.  Note who this is, where he's speaking, and think very, very carefully about whether attacking a group that is listening and willing to act on this correct perspective is wise.

No will to do the right thing said...

We Speak on PBS Newshour About Why No Bank Executives Have Gone to Jail

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