Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

One possible explanation for Clinton’s lack of interest in banning golden parachutes is that she tolerated them when she ran the State Department, one reporter wrote. (Photo: Hillary for America/flickr/cc)

Progressives Call on Clinton to End Wall Street-to-Washington Revolving Door

Groups call on Clinton to give her "full public support" to the Financial Services Conflict of Interest Act, which bans golden parachutes, among other things

Deirdre Fulton

Decrying what they describe as "a barely legal, backdoor form of bribery," a coalition of eight progressive groups representing nine million Americans is asking Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton to condemn the controversial practice of Wall Street firms paying large bonuses, or "golden parachutes," to executives who take on government jobs.

"Americans are sick and tired of the Wall Street-to-Washington revolving door, and are looking for a presidential candidate who will take concrete steps to fight it," said Kurt Walters, campaign manager of Rootstrikers, one of the grassroots groups behind the letter (pdf). "Secretary Clinton hasn’t yet shown that she is that candidate, but we hope her responses to these questions will demonstrate she shares these progressive priorities."

Wednesday's letter, which Politico notes "comes as Clinton interrupts her Hamptons vacation to unveil her rural policy platform in Iowa," concludes with two questions:

  1. "Do you still support the use of this controversial compensation practice?"
  2. "If you become President, will you allow officials who enter your administration to receive this sort of bonus?"

They're good questions, given Clinton's past.

"One possible explanation for Clinton’s lack of interest in banning golden parachutes is that she tolerated them when she ran the State Department—for two of her top aides," wrote The Intercept's David Dayen in late July. "Robert Hormats and Thomas Nides previously worked as executives for financial firms Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley, respectively. Both received benefits tied to their Wall Street employment contracts for entering public service."

The groups call on Clinton to give her "full public support" to the Financial Services Conflict of Interest Act—introduced last month by Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) and Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.)—which bans (pdf) golden parachutes, among other things. 

The letter notes that Clinton's two main rivals for the Democratic nomination, U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders and former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley, have both said they support the legislation, with Sanders having signed on as a co-sponsor. To date, more than 115,000 people have signed onto petitions calling on 2016 presidential candidates to support the bill.

"It's hard to imagine Democrats' 2016 nominee will be truly tough on Wall Street banks that break the law, if they won't commit to banning their advisors from receiving legalized bribes from those same banks."
—Charles Chamberlain, Democracy for America

Still, Clinton has declined to address the issue.

"It's hard to imagine Democrats' 2016 nominee will be truly tough on Wall Street banks that break the law, if they won't commit to banning their advisors from receiving legalized bribes from those same banks," said Charles Chamberlain, executive director of Democracy for America (DFA), another of the organizations to sign onto the letter. "Allowing Wall Street bankers who've recently received 'golden parachutes' into your administration is a little like serving a fox a chicken sandwich before sticking them on hen house guard duty—it'd be funny if it weren’t so obviously boneheaded."

Writing on Wednesday, the Washington Post called the missive "another sign that Hillary Rodham Clinton has not won over important voices on the progressive left."

Meanwhile, Politico focused on how the call accentuates differences between Clinton and "progressive icon" Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), noting that Warren has suggested repeatedly that any candidate seeking her endorsement must agree not to appoint officials with Wall Street ties.

"Anyone who wants to be president should appoint only people who have already demonstrated they are independent, who have already demonstrated that they can hold giant banks accountable, who have already demonstrated that they embrace the kind of ambitious economic policies that we need to rebuild opportunity and a strong middle class in this country," Warren said in July.

In addition to Rootstrikers and DFA, the groups backing the statement are CREDO Action, MoveOn.Org Political Action, the Center for Popular Democracy Action, The Other 98%, Friends of the Earth Action, and American Family Voices.


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Simply Don't Exist.

Coalition Urges Biden to Make 'Transformative Change' in Approach to Global Food and Agriculture

"This pro-corporate agriculture agenda must change under your watch."

Andrea Germanos ·


Mondaire Jones Warns Against Watering Down Human Infrastructure Proposals

The New York Democrat is advocating universal programs, not means-tested ones, for programs in the Build Back Better plan.

Andrea Germanos ·


Manchin Threatening Key Climate Provision: Reports

"To take it out is to decide that climate change isn't a problem."

Andrea Germanos ·


'Make a Gesture of Humanity': Pope Francis Urges Pharma Giants to Release Covid-19 Vaccine Patents

"There are countries where only three or four percent of the inhabitants have been vaccinated."

Andrea Germanos ·


Manchin Fumes After Sanders Op-Ed in West Virginia Paper Calls Out Obstruction of Biden Agenda

"Poll after poll shows overwhelming support for this legislation," wrote Sanders. "Two Democratic senators remain in opposition, including Sen. Joe Manchin."

Andrea Germanos ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.


Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo