When I initially read the title of this article in the NY Times, I thought, “finally, Wall Street is going to stand up to Obama’s wealth redistribution games.” Which was then followed closely by, “WTF? AYFKM? Carter G. Phillips of Sidley Austin? Barry and Mishy’s old law firm? What’s the game now, and I bet Davis Polk & Wardwell are not happy, or maybe they just don’t want to touch this one.”
Wall Street’s main lobbying arm has hired a top Supreme Court litigator to study a possible legal battle against a bank tax proposed by the Obama administration, on the theory that it would be unconstitutional, according to three industry officials briefed on the matter.
In an e-mail message sent last week to the heads of Wall Street legal departments, executives of the lobbying group, the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association, wrote that a bank tax might be unconstitutional because it would unfairly single out and penalize big banks, according to these officials, who did not want to be identified to preserve relationships with the group’s members.
The message said the association had hired Carter G. Phillips of Sidley Austin, who has argued dozens of cases before the Supreme Court, to study whether a tax on one industry could be considered arbitrary and punitive, providing the basis for a constitutional challenge, they said.
For those that do not know the background of Sidley Austin and the Obama’s connection to this law firm, go here; it’s a long read but well worth it.
Let’s check out who is exempt from the “bank tax”. Wow – all the government owned entities. An ever expanding pie for the federal government.
There may be room for compromise. Administration officials hope to keep the proposed tax limited to major financial institutions with more than $50 billion in assets but consider that a difficult line to draw. For example, the proposed tax would not apply to large hedge funds; the mortgage finance giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac; or the carmakers Chrysler and General Motors.
“We believe the lines we have drawn are sound and sensible,” said Gene B. Sperling, a senior Treasury Department official. “We understand these are the type of things we will need to keep an open mind on in negotiations with Congress.”
The financial lobby has insisted that it is unfair for banks to cover the cost of losses tied to nonbank bailout recipients like the automakers and the American International Group, the giant insurer that is now majority-owned by the government. In an appearance on CNBC on Thursday, Representative Barney Frank, chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, called the argument over including the automakers legitimate.
At the lobbying group, the selection of Mr. Phillips of Sidley Austin raised eyebrows because it suggests that Wall Street may be spoiling for a fight. Davis Polk & Wardwell, another white-shoe law firm, has been advising the same lobbying group on legal matters tied to new financial regulation.
On July 28, 2009, I put up a post titled “The Apollo Alliance” that had just been spoken about on Glenn Beck. In the comments section, this little note was left:
Glenn Beck’s recent representation of the Apollo Alliance was filled with distortions and convenient omissions. To set the record straight, Beck failed to note that business leaders across the country support Apollo’s efforts to promote bipartisan policies that will lead to domestic job creation and the revival of our struggling manufacturing sector. Our goal is to put millions of Americans to work in a new generation of high-quality, green-collar jobs so that our country and our citizens can prosper again.
The clean energy economy is here. The misguided, pessimistic rhetoric coming from those who would rather let our economy fail than be proven wrong is a dangerous impediment to American progress. We need to keep moving forward, embrace new ideas, rebuild the country’s middle class, and finally break our addiction to dirty fossil fuels. For more information about the Apollo Alliance, visit our Website at apolloalliance.org –Jenna Scatena, Apollo Alliance
I, of course, had to reply to the above comment with this:
Wow Jenna – thanks for stopping by and dropping free koolaid for everybody – unfortunately for you – we are not partaking.
“The misguided, pessimistic rhetoric coming from those who would rather let our economy fail than be proven wrong is a dangerous impediment to American progress.”
Are you freakin’ kidding me? Let the economy fail instead of being proven wrong? Rest assured that simple economics negates everything that this administration and the LAST administration has done.
As for your Apollo Alliance, rest assured I will start digging on what Glenn spoke about and we will see exactly what I find – and I am pretty sure you won’t like it – but my readers know I am fair and I report all the pieces of the puzzle.
Hopefully the 1/2 of the country that wants a free ride will wake up soon and realize that there is no free lunch.
As for the rest of my readers – can you believe the people that come here and just assume we are non-thinking, non-reading, msm slurping twits?
As good as my word, I have started digging and have been finding some rather interesting facts. I thought we might just start with a little muckety map that originated with the Tides Foundation because they seem to have their fingers in just about everything…
In this order, click on Tides, Drummond Pike, Democracy Alliance, Wade Rathke, ACORN, and then Sidley Austin. Take a good look, get to know the names as you will be hearing more about them in coming posts.
Drummond Pike was born in San Rafael, California in 1948, the third of four brothers. His father, Peter Pike, was an investment banker. His mother, Catherine Cline Pike, was Marin County’s first female pediatrician.
Although Drummond Pike came from a well-off family, he was not the heir of a great fortune, as were so many other leftist philanthropists of his generation, such as Joshua Mailman and his secretive “Doughnuts” group of wealthy heirs, which included Jeffrey Bronfman of the Seagram’s whiskey fortune, and Harriett McKnight Crosby from two fortunes, the McKnight timber, real estate and skyscraper money and the Crosby General Mills money. The Doughnuts took over the U.K.-based Threshold Foundation in 1981 and in 1984 made it a project of Tides Foundation to pool their inherited wealth and fund leftist groups that could do a lot with a little. Pike remained a Director of Threshold Foundation when it incorporated independently in 1986, and remains today. He is now a millionaire himself.
Pike’s leadership talent showed early. He majored in political science at the University of California at Santa Cruz and gained note as an anti-Viet Nam War protester. He was selected as campus representative to the Board of Regents during his senior year in 1969, where he was known as an aggressive student-power advocate.
In 1970, activists from the Ford Foundation-created Center for Community Change set up The Youth Project in Washington, D.C. with Pike as associate director. It was a pass-through funding group (which would plant the seeds of later tactics in Pike’s mind) of rich young heirs who financed poor young activists in anti-business community organizing.
The Center for Community Change itself was funded by early progressive foundations: the Stern Family Fund, Needmor Fund, Abelard Foundation, DJB Foundation, J.M. Kaplan Fund, Helen Lehman Buttenwieser’s Joint Foundation Support, and Stewart R. Mott Charitable Trust, giving Pike his first big-money connections.
Pike earned a master’s degree in political science at Rutgers University while with the Project, then returned West to open its San Francisco office, but was soon hired away by Youth Project funder Alan Stephen Davis, son of insurance mogul (and AARP co-founder) Leonard Davis, to lead his Shalan Foundation, which was incorporated in New York (in 1969, from the Chittenango Trust and the ML.com Charitable Lead Trust), but housed in San Francisco. “Shalan” was a compressed portmanteau of his wife Shane’s first name and his own – ShAlan.
In 1976, when Pike had just joined Shalan (or so the official story goes), a young couple from New Mexico approached him with a problem: they wanted to donate anonymously and needed a public foundation to handle their grants. Shalan couldn’t accommodate them, so Pike and Jane Bagley Lehman, Reynolds tobacco heiress and president of Arca Foundation (1970-1980), co-founded the Tides Foundation as a public charity to help them. That may be true, but it hardly seems a credible reason for a savvy and seasoned person of exceptional wealth such as Jane Bagley Lehman to fund and lead a substantial startup foundation.
The more likely story is that Lehman, who had just moved to California from New York, thought up the foundation idea herself after meeting Pike and seeing his talent in action. The Tides name evidently came from Pike, for a Sausalito bookstore where leftist readers and writers mixed. Lehman completely controlled the Tides Foundation, serving as its board chair until her death in 1988. Her daughter Susan Lehman Carmichael served as a member of the board of directors of both the Tides Foundation and the Tides Center until 2000.
Other donors came, and Pike ran Tides “out of his desk drawer at Shalan” for several years – another unlikely story. If it was run out of anybody’s desk drawer, it was more likely Lehman’s nearby facilities. Pike’s first big coup was helping Norman Lear create People for the American Way in 1980, when he also helped establish the National Network of Grantmakers, today the premier self-described “progressive” donor association for the far left.
In 1981 Davis gave Pike a year to separate. At year end, Pike and Tides went independent and rented offices with Lyman Casey’s Bothin Helping Fund.
Pike’s empire has grown into what is being called the “Tides Family of Organizations,” run by the Tides Network, a sort of tax-exempt holding company that rules many non-profit subsidiaries.
Wade Rathke, controversial ACORN co-founder, has been a Tides director from the start and chairs Tides, Inc..
Pike is co-founder and president of the Tides Foundation (1976) and Tides Center (1992).
The Tides Foundation is a pass-through for other foundations’ money. Tides Foundation is a public charity, not a private foundation. Tides Foundation passes other foundations’ money to a spectrum of left-wing organizations which the original donors would not or could not support on their own.
The Tides Center shelters a wide variety of leftist “social change” groups under its legal and tax-exempt status, providing management and payroll services, fundraising assistance, and legal counsel for an 8% fee, while the groups themselves operate their own projects and programs. Because none of the more than 260 projects under the Tides umbrella files its own Form 990 with the IRS, their finances are totally secret and not available for public inspection, an issue that requires congressional remedy.
Drummond’s power connections as of 2009:
Co-founder, National Network of Grantmakers (1980), which remains an important source of funding for left wing political activism.
President and Director, Tsunami Fund, a 501(c)(4) lobbying organization funded by individuals and foundations to influence legislators in passing anti-capitalist laws.
President, eGrants.org, created by Tides Foundation, “a nonprofit focused on Internet fundraising” (only for left-wing anti-capitalist groups).
President, Highwater, Inc., a private corporation wholly owned by Tides Foundation. Highwater was a general partner in Thoreau Center Partners, LP, which leased office space to the Tides Center at $219,202 annually.
Co-founder (with John Harrington), director and shareholder of Working Assets, a left-wing telephone and credit card firm that sells its services to the Tides Center.
Viewing the United States as a nation infested with “structural racism” that limits opportunities for nonwhites, Pike favors a highly progressive tax structure (i.e., one that taxes the rich at much higher rates than the poor) as a necessary means of redistributing wealth. Pike also supports socialized medicine.
Pike has been an outspoken critic of America’s involvement in the Iraq War. In April 2008 he wrote, “[M]ore Americans have died in Iraq than died on 9/11. One wonders if our misguided taste for revenge has run its course, since how else does one explain what we’ve done?” Pike also has called for the closing of the Guantanamo Bay detention center that houses Islamic terrorists captured on Middle Eastern battlefields and has accused the Bush administration of mandating the torture of the Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib. In April 2008 Pike criticized Rep. Tom Tancredo, the Republican congressman who has consistently pointed out the threat posed by illegal immigration, as “the Chief Immigrant Baiter among right wing politicians who collectively seem intent on blaming Spanish-speaking immigrants for every ill.”
Later in 2008, Pike’s close ties to the community organization ACORN surfaced after it was learned that Dale Rathke, the brother of ex-ACORN president Wade Rathke, had embezzled nearly $1 million from ACORN and its affiliated groups in 1999 and 2000. Pike personally repaid this money to ACORN.
And who can forget Jacob Hacker standing in front of a Tides backdrop talking about single payer healthcare: