Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Corporate gatekeepers and big tech monopolists are making it more difficult than ever for independent media to survive. Please chip in today.

Voters back home — and now their new representatives in Congress — are seeing past the sheep’s clothing to the Wall Street wolves within.(Photo: Phillipp/cc/flickr)

Voters back home — and now their new representatives in Congress — are seeing past the sheep’s clothing to the Wall Street wolves within.(Photo: Phillipp/cc/flickr)

No Labels and the ‘Problem Solvers’ are Wolves of Wall Street in Sheep’s Clothing

Political organizations hide their pro-finance politics under the cloak of bipartisanship while they rake in funding from corporate interests

Porter McConnellRion Dennis

 by Inequality.org

all Street’s money oozes into many dark crevices in Washington. The financial services industry pumped $2 billion into the 2015-16 election cycle and managed to easily outpace that amount during this year’s midterm election. Other than the aggregate figures, there is much we don’t know about the exact ways this money is used to influence our political systems. But from time to time, we do get a particularly vivid peek into how Wall Street cash distorts debates about policy.

For years, the group No Labels and its close partner, the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus, have quietly promoted policies that are wrapped in the mantle of bipartisanship and pitched as “non-ideological,” while being in the pay of corporate interests. They produce reports, sponsor events, and weigh in on policy on behalf of unnamed corporate donors.

Even when Wall Street isn’t directly funding specific activities, its pervasive funding helps get its talking points into conversations with members of Congress.

Even when Wall Street isn’t directly funding specific activities, its pervasive funding helps get its talking points into conversations with members of Congress. At an orientation program run by Harvard University, former executives or lobbyists with Goldman Sachs, Bank of New York Mellon, and the private equity trade association were on the agenda as “experts” on Congress. The label fits in the way the Big Bad Wolf is an expert in porcine house construction.

Recently published internal documents blew the lid off how much of the money behind No Labels comes from Wall Street. Its donors include executives from major asset managers (Trian Fund Management), hedge funds (Oaktree Capital Management) and private equity (Apollo Global Management), among others. Donors pledged $4.8 million to the No Labels non-profit arm in 2017, and also sent industry money to PACs affiliated with the group.

Former Democratic senators Joe Lieberman and Evan Bayh, who both worked as industry lobbyists after leaving Congress, are affiliated with No Labels and the Problem Solvers Caucus. Rep. Mark Pocan, now a co-chair of the Progressive Caucus, has written with remarkable candor about being “duped” by both organizations when he first joined the House in 2012. Beneath the veneer of bipartisanship, Pocan soon discovered the true aim of both groups — to import a pro-corporate agenda into Democratic politics.


This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License.
 Porter McConnell

Porter McConnell

Porter McConnell is the campaign manager for Take on Wall Street and a co-author — of Wall Street Makes Bank on Trump: 2017 in Review.

Rion Dennis

Rion Dennis

Rion Dennis is legislative & advocacy strategist for Americans for Financial Reform.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

Parents Demand Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty 'For the Sake of the Children'

"We cannot remain silent as the fossil fuel industry and world leaders rob our children of a livable future," parents from 32 nations wrote in an open letter.

Brett Wilkins ·


'We Can Do Better' Than Biden's Paltry Student Debt Relief Plan, Says AOC

The president's approach, said the New York Democrat, is "just enough to anger the people against it *and* the people who need forgiveness the most."

Julia Conley ·


Right-Wing Supreme Court Poised to Make US Gun Carnage Even Worse

The U.S. Supreme Court's right-wing majority could soon "obliterate even the mildest of gun regulations in service of its gun lobby masters."

Kenny Stancil ·


'Enough Is Enough!': Thousands Protest Outside NRA Convention in Texas

"I'm just tired of the NRA subordinating children's rights for gun rights," said one gun lobby opponent just three days after the school massacre in Uvalde.

Brett Wilkins ·


'Manchin of the House' Kurt Schrader Officially Defeated in Oregon Primary

"This win proves that voters are hungry for leaders who will fight for working families, not billionaires and Big Pharma," said one group that backed progressive challenger Jamie McLeod-Skinner.

Jake Johnson ·

Common Dreams Logo