tv Inside Story Al Jazeera February 26, 2016 6:30pm-7:01pm EST
>> i lived that character. >> we will be able to see change. ♪ ♪ senator marco rubio has insisted on the campaign trail that he dislakes the dodd frank law regulating the financial industry because it hurts small around medium banks and benefits wall street's biggest players, but if that is the case, why are some of the men associated with some of the big wall street firm embedded in the breu marco rubio campaign? what does money buy?
it's the "inside story." welcome to "inside story." i'm ray suarez. it's right there in the first amendment to the accusation is . when you are raising millions to pay for a presidential campaign, deep possibilities are only too happy to pay for a political campaign. when an industry is interested in the future of a particular law, how int plat can the relations of campaigns and candidates be and stay within
the law? different campaigns have answered those questions in very different ways. here is hillary clinton who says her policies would be tougher on wall street than bernie sanders but she made millions in speaking fees not to mention donations from goldman sachs and other big wall street firms. on the republican side there's donald trump who has talked about raising taxes on wall street billionaires but whose real estate deals depend on wall street loans, and ted cruz got more than $1 million in personal loans from citigroup and goldman sachs, where his wife is a director. and then marco rubio, who says he wants to reform dodd frank. >> we need to repeal dodd frank. it is eviscerating small businesses and small banks.
>> federal documents reviewed by "inside story" however show that two top members of the rubio campaign have been lobbying against dodd frank not from main street but on behalf of two of the biggest wall street firms in the world, firms that stand omay millions with the roll back of dodd frank. the forms don't say whether someone's lobbying for or against something but we do know what goldman sachs and blackstone have said about dodd frank. reuters for instance reported that goldman sachs was, woat, qe totally freaked out by this, kerry lloyd blankfine seen here with rubio says his in 2016, one
blankfine employee joe wall is also the washington, d.c. co-chair of marco rubio's campaign. wall is a senior vice president for government affairs, that's lobbying at goldman sachs. the firm's most recent disclosure forms show they spent $742,000 in the last quarter of 2014 lobbying congress on issues specifically including dodd frank which joe frank did every quarter since the law was signed five years ago. then there's rubio's national finance chairman, wayne berman, senior executive for the blackstone group, who paid millions in fines. blackstone ceo 7 schwartzman,
blackstone has two lobbyists working for them, both, on the forms where they disclose their lobbying activity, blackstone's two lobbying firms don't say anything more specific than financial services. even though those same lobbying firms do disclose specifics including dodd frank on forms disclosing work they do for other clients and blackstone used to have lobbyists who disclosed those specifics. just last year, go other lobbying firms disclosed lobbying congress for blackstone against dodd frank specifically until blackstone dropped them as lobbyists. neither the rubio campaign or blackstone responded to "inside story" for comments. the democratic committee just
this month dropped the ibm era ban on taking donation from lobbyists but there could be a political cost. ted cruz for instance has gone against both clinton and rubio for their ties with lobbyists. >> that is the washington cartel, the term i get for both parties that get in bed with the lobbyists and special interests -- >> what does money buy? the rubio campaign and a closer look, at the fund raisers, lee fong, investigative journalist, and alex goldstein and carrie levine. alexis, let me start with you. if lloyd blankfie blankfine wer,
i will donate $2 million to the presidential candidate who promises me will get rid of dodd frank will that be against law for a candidate to respond, i will make that promise and take the money? >> i think that will get too close to quid pro quo which is not allowed but there are numbers of ways to accomplish that without being so explicit. that's something you have outlined in the intro today. >> some of this is legal structural architecture of our campaign finance system and some of i.t. is appearance questions, isn't it? >> i think that's right. but i think thairnd at the end of that the end of theday, you e policies they take, marco rubio is someone who has said long before he ran for president that dodd frank is a bad idea but it is very true that the big banks are also very much against dodd frank and have spent an enormous
amount of money trying to roll it back. >> lee fong is it a reasonable inference to assume that would like to get rid of dodd frank? >> well, that's their paid job, these folks are retained by big financial interests, to influence financial regulatory reform. so for them to be engaged in the rubio campaign, it would be surprising if they didn't raise these issues with the senator, or use their connections to make sure that their colleagues in the lobbying world, in the wall street industry, didn't have access to meeting with the senator and hopefully, if rubio gets the nomination and the presidency, getting placements in terms of jobs in the rubio administration. if you look back in history tri, thi,this is the role they play,e
a president is elected they play a role in the transition and getting their buddies into top roles in the administration so they can oversee certain types of legislation or play a role in influencing a future president's position on how they enforce these laws. >> and again since none of them would comment to us for this story, i'm going to assume that mrs. schwartzman and blankfine as staunch opponents of dod frank andoddfrank and its effece financial is a institution, who are neutral on it or don't have an opinion on it or actually against it because they want to help small struggling family banks in america's heart land?
>> well, you know, there's just no evidence that i've seen that rubio is promoting folks who come from community banks or credit unions to senior levels if his campaign. i think we just need to look at recent history. president obama when he was on the campaign trail in 2008, he promised to get tough on the big banks and crack down on them. but at the same time he was filling many of thinks advisor rolls and fund razor rolls from wall street. and institutions like covington and burling, no criminal prosecutions on the banks responsible for the financial crisis. >> carrie levee levine, since or
campaigns are so long, we must have been through a few reporting periods now, repeal of dodd frank they want the people to see the tworld way they do in office. >> well it's true that several of the campaigns have reported collecting hawns of thousands of dollars even millions from lobbyists. and rubio as of the end of the year had more than $1 million in contributions that were raised or bundled by lobbyists who sometimes -- you know who can collect a good deal of money for the campaign. and hillary clinton too had collected in the millions from registered lobbyists. >> let me just clarify for people at home who doesn't follow this world. what is a bundler. >> a bundler is someone who helps ray raise money from others. goes to their network to solicit contributions for chair candidates. a bundler is someone who is a
carrie levine, lee fong and alexis goldsteen are with me. when we were working from the known to the less known. we visited the website to look for wayne berman's bio and it was there. then when we contact ed blackstone for a comment on this story and trying to clarify the role of wayne be berman his bio suddenly disappeared from the website, the blackstone group. if this is all on the up and up why would they be interested in effacing that link? >> well, i think marco rubio has tried say on the campaign trail he's in favor of community banks, he doesn't want to help the biggest banks, he's against too big to fail but in association with a large financial firm like blackstone
or like goldman sachs as you covered earlier he's had another advisor work for goldman sachs, it contradicts the rhetoric he's trying to achieve in the campaign. i think there's also been a lot of talk about candidates across the preliminary spectrum about closing the carried interest loophole which allows warren buffett to play olower tax rate than his secretaries. one of the reasons it has disappeared from their website. >> carrie levine what's the difference between personal money that i go home and check my personal checking account balance and write a check to my favorite candidate and firm money, interested in giving from one campaign to another? is there a difference? >> often, companies have more
money. >> i'm going to stipulate that acme has far more than i do. go ahead. >> individuals give to campaigns like many people do, that's one way to do it and then there's political action committees which are controlled by a company or a firm and which also give contributions. so moist of the time when you talk about lobbyist bund lers supporting a campaign or people like wayne berman they are technically acting in an individual capacity. so wayne berman would say probably he is not doing had as official blackstone business, he's doing i.t. as an individual. >> but aside from being a finance chairman for a national political campaign takes up more of your time more than a hobby that you can do on your weekends. >> you have to think it's time consuming, all the phone calls, fundraising, travel, parties. >> lee fong how do campaigns
stay clear of the suspicion of quid pro quo? >> well, the suspicion is one thing. i think if you ask any american, just looking at recent history, it's clear that there are -- there's a reason that these big companies or special interests spend so much on lobbies and special campaigns cxg that, bigs or favorable legislation, there's clearly some type of quid pro quo but there are many different euphemisms as we have discussed earlier that have allowed these lobbyists to and these donors to avoid, breaking the letter of the law. and in addition to that, we haven't seen much actual enforcement. so you know, the federal elections commission which is charged with enforcing campaign. law, they've got an even number of democratic and republican commissioners, and often when
there's an action to bring an investigation or another enforcement, against a potential violation of law, there's a deadlock on the commission and nothing happens. so the sec has been missing in action over the last couple of years. in addition, the department of justice political integrity unit they have also been missing in action. but the reason is a little bit more mysterious. we see the doj going after loag localocalcorruption, state senad local mayors. but we haven't seen the sec investigate federal corruption. >> what does money buy? we'll continue our look at campaign finance. stay with us, it's "inside story."
before one of the caifnts brought it up anthe candidatesb. donald trump. >> he sells it to a lobbyists for 380,000 and then legislation is passed. >> now this real estate transaction happened to occur when the real estate prices in florida were cratering. and marco rubio and his partner another member of the legislature were in danger of losing their investment entirely. again, nothing legal about selling a house to a willing buyer for whatever they're willing to pay for it. alexis is there a problem? >> it seems shady i think. i think anyone who hears that story it's questionable right? pricing plummeted, people were having a really hard time, lots of people were underwater, so being able to nearly double your money at a time like that i think certainly raises a lot of
questions. >> but not joe citizen looking for aquarter-acre of crab grass. this was olobbyist who bought the house. >> right. i think this raises a lot of questions about who was influencing the campaign. are they trying to butter him up, what are the reasons this happened, this is the guy who have people on his campaign who have lobbied for goldman sachs, trying to get through things in the senate finance committee, we have been talking about dodd frank. i guess whatever favors they need to give him in order to advance his crusade to get rid of dodd frank i guess they have to give it. >> not sitting on the sidelines waiting for a new president to then rush in after the election is over, it's already in there, trying to make its influence felt. here is bernie sanders from the last democratic candidates debate. >> let's talk about issues. >> let's talk about issues. >> let's talk about issues, why in the 1990s wall street got
deregulated, did it have anything to do with the fact that wall street provided, spent billions of dollars on lobbying and campaign contributions? well, some people might think yeah, that had some influence. >> bernie sanders making the common sensiccal argument aboui. sensical argument. it's hard to prove that something nefarious is going on. >> you have the hub of it. that's not always the way it goes down. sometimes. it's been known to lap. but it's rarely -- it's rarely that uf have that stash of cash in the freezer. so i think what you have is the more pervasive ways that influence finds its way to lawmakers. so that's why disclosure can be so important, and why -- why
it's important not just to look at the people who are registered to lobby but the other people who may be influencing a campaign. the strategic advisors who work at lobby shops and law firms and the ceos who are funding campaigns and putting mlz of mis of dollars into superpacs. some of them are registered lobbyists and some are other kinds of advocates. >> lee fong, isn't there sufficient transparency so that if i put a name into a search engine i can find out what campaigns have been donated to, how much, by who, who the bundlers are? this is all matters of public record, so is there a problem? are there things that i can't see that are perhaps the real story of why corporations and individuals give to campaigns?
>> well, look. there are loopholes big enough you can drive a mack truck through them. the bundlers for example, the only ones they have to register under the law, are people who are registered lobbyists. all the other bundlers they don't have to disclose. if a corporation wants to drop $10 million in support of marco rubio today, there are many ways to do it and you won't find out the identity of those donors, perhaps forever, by giving it to a 501 (c) 4, (c) 6, one of these other quoth unquote social welfare or trade association groups. the campaign finance you see reported in the news they can be very misleading. that is only sometimes the tip of the iceberg. much of the money like a lot of the lobbying has gone underground. not being reported and it's unfortunate for the public when you're trying to figure out what's at stake and what's going on it's fortunate that it's been reported that joe wall and some of these other individuals that are associated with the rubio
campaign but there are probably probably other individuals that are not registered that are not put on the press release and the public has no clue. >> the fact that blackstone might want dodd frank repealed, and goldman sachs wants dodd frank repealed, they second to members of their staff to go work for a campaign fawn for a candidate who would like to see dodd frank repealed. so are we okay? >> these are reasons we have seen americans for financial reform like the afl-cio says there needs to being disclosure of bonuses. giving thousands in bonuses, they claim we're being so generous bringing our expertise to government but really, there is a lot of questions of what these former imloafs a bi emplos
say like goldman sachs what, they would do in exchange and it gets to the fients had were made before -- points that were made before, who do you surround yourself with who do you listen to and what do you do with that power? >> well, we'll try to keep our eyes on that for the rest of the campaign but as lee fong mentioned there are some of these things that won't be known until somebody is elected. i want to thank alex god stein acknowledge lee fong, investigative journalist at the intersect. that's the snoirs. toda"inside story."is the islamg up to its side of the deal? does that signal more retrenchment? i'm ray suarez, thanks for watching, good night.