Hillary Clinton’s Wall Street ties raise questions

Sen. Sanders and former Secretary of State Clinton have very different financial supporters.

During Sunday’s Democratic Debate in Flint, Mich., Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., took a moment to highlight what he felt to be a significant difference between himself and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in terms of economic reform. As Sanders remarked: “While we are on [the topic of] Wall Street, one of us has a super PAC. One of us has raised $15 million from Wall Street for that super PAC. One of us has given speeches on Wall Street for hundreds of thousands of dollars.”

Sanders is correct. Not only has Clinton received massive outspoken support from financial actors such as Goldman-Sachs, according to opensecrets.org, but contributions from the securities and investment industry to super PACs operating on behalf of Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign currently total $15,323,124. If you ask me, that’s a pretty big deal. After all, isn’t it inherently troubling that a politician would impugn dangerous actions on Wall Street, while simultaneously receiving millions of dollars from the financial sector?

If you were to simply listen to Clinton’s rhetoric concerning the issue, you might not think there’s much to worry about. In response to Sanders’ critique of her lucrative ties to the financial sector, Clinton insisted that she believes that “no bank is too big to fail, no executive too powerful to jail.” That statement might make for a comforting sound bite, but given how much money Wall Street has forked over to prop up Clinton’s White House run, it’s virtually impossible to envision a President Clinton advancing as stringent a financial reform policy as would a President Sanders.

Clinton contends that the relationships she has forged with the financial sector have never caused her to change a vote or position. The trouble is, the quid pro quo logic of campaign contributions works a little more subtly than that. Special interests have an incentive not simply to fund those candidates who will be most amenable to their goals, but also those candidates who have a shot of winning. Even if Clinton favors some amount of action to impose stricter regulations on the financial industry, her Wall Street donors must certainly prefer the approach she would take to the unabashedly punitive one Sanders would pursue. Moreover, if these contributors feel that Clinton is the candidate (between either party) most likely to achieve the presidency, establishing financial connections now is a good way to work for a jovial relationship come Inauguration Day.

To say that Clinton and the super PACs working on her behalf have received massive sums from Wall Street is not to say that Clinton’s true economic agenda is identical to that of a Goldman-Sachs lobbyist. However, I think it’s disingenuous for Clinton to act as though her ties to the financial sector in no way make her beholden to that sector’s interests. However, we have a pretty reliable sense of where Sanders stands when it comes to Wall Street regulation. Clinton’s ambitions in that area remain far more indeterminate. As much as she’d like us to believe that she has average Americans’ best interests at heart, Clinton’s involvement with the financial industry provides cause for concern. If, as I do, you want a president unequivocally committed to ensuring that the country’s largest financial institutions will never again lay claim to kind of power that allowed them to decimate the economy in 2008, it looks as though your best bet lies with Sen. Sanders.

Elijah is a junior majoring in communication arts. Do you agree with him that former Secretary of State Clinton’s Wall Street ties are concerning? Do you agree with him that Sen. Sanders’ super PAC free campaign is the one people should be supporting? Let us know at opinion@dailycardinal.com.

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