- Lee Fanginvestigative journalist at The Intercept covering the intersection of money and politics. His recent piece is headlined “Hillary Clinton Won’t Say How Much Goldman Sachs CEO Invested with Her Son-in-Law.”
The California primary is just over one week away, and Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders are in a dead heat. Hillary Clinton has changed this week’s campaign schedule to add more California stops in order to try to reverse Sanders’ growing momentum. Yet multiple issues have continued to dog Clinton’s campaign, including the question of her connection to Goldman Sachs. The Wall Street giant paid Clinton $675,000 in 2013 to give three speeches. And now new questions are being raised about the ties between Goldman Sachs and Hillary’s son-in-law, Marc Mezvinsky. Mezvinsky worked at Goldman for eight years and then formed a hedge fund in part with help from Goldman CEO Lloyd Blankfein. For more, we’re joined by Intercept investigative reporter Lee Fang. His recent piece is headlined “Hillary Clinton Won’t Say How Much Goldman Sachs CEO Invested with Her Son-in-Law.”
AMY GOODMAN: As the Democratic race between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders heats up ahead of the California primary on June 7th, we turn to look at Hillary Clinton’s ties to Goldman Sachs. The Wall Street giant paid Clinton $675,000 in 2013 to give three speeches. But so far Hillary Clinton has rejected calls to release the speech transcripts. Well, now questions have come up about ties between Goldman Sachs and another member of the Clinton family: Hillary’s son-in-law Marc Mezvinsky. He worked at Goldman for eight years, then formed a hedge fund in part with help from Goldman CEO Lloyd Blankfein. During a San Francisco campaign rally last Thursday, Lee Fang of The Intercept tried to ask Hillary Clinton about this.
LEE FANG: Hi, Secretary Clinton. Do you know how much money Lloyd Blankfein invested in your son-in-law’s hedge fund? Secretary Clinton? Secretary Clinton, how much did Lloyd Blankfein invest in your son-in-law’s hedge fund? Why don’t you respond? Secretary Clinton? Secretary Clinton, quick question about Eaglevale Partners. Secretary Clinton, question about your son-in-law’s hedge fund. Secretary Clinton?
NICK MERRILL: Hey, buddy. How are you?
LEE FANG: Hey, how’s it going?
NICK MERRILL: What’s your name?
LEE FANG: Lee Fang.
NICK MERRILL: Hi, I’m Nick. I’m her spokesperson.
LEE FANG: Hey, how’s it going?
NICK MERRILL: What are you trying to find out more about?
LEE FANG: I want to know how much money Lloyd Blankfein invested in Marc Mezvinsky’s hedge fund. Do you know how much money, Nick? Nick, do you know how much money Lloyd Blankfein invested in—
NICK MERRILL: I don’t know. Has it been reported?
LEE FANG: No, it hasn’t. Do you know that—could you find out the amount for me?
NICK MERRILL: I don’t know what the amount is.
LEE FANG: What?
NICK MERRILL: You want to give me your contact information?
LEE FANG: Sure, yes. Stay here.
NICK MERRILL: You have a card?
LEE FANG: I’ll give you my card. So you’re going to find out the answer here, right?
NICK MERRILL: What?
LEE FANG: You’re going to get back to me?
NICK MERRILL: I’m going to email you right back.
LEE FANG: Thank you.
AMY GOODMAN: That was Intercept reporter Lee Fang questioning Hillary Clinton and her press secretary, Nick Merrill, at a campaign rally last Thursday. Lee Fang was also the first reporter to ask Clinton to release the transcripts of her speeches to Goldman Sachs earlier this year. So we’re going straight to Lee Fang, investigative journalist at The Intercept covering the intersection of money and politics. Again, your recent piece headlined, “Hillary Clinton Won’t Say How Much Goldman Sachs CEO Invested with Her Son-in-Law.”
Welcome back to Democracy Now! Lay out what you’re trying to find out, Lee.
LEE FANG: Hi, Amy. Good morning. Thank you for having me.
In 2010, Marc Mezvinsky married Chelsea Clinton. The following year, in 2011, he began fundraising for his hedge fund. Reportedly, Lloyd Blankfein, the chief executive of Goldman Sachs, personally invested in this fund. He also allowed his association with this fund to be used in its marketing materials. So he’s a big reason why Eaglevale Partners, the hedge fund founded by Marc Mezvinsky, was able to raise close to $400 million. Unfortunately, that wasn’t particularly a savvy business decision. The fund, according to The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times, has underperformed, and one subordinate fund created by Marc Mezvinsky lost 90 percent of its investors’ money and had to shut down earlier this month. Basically, they made bad bets on the Greek economy recovery.
So, we’ve been pressing the campaign to understand the full relationship between Goldman Sachs and the Clinton family. We’ve asked not only about the Goldman Sachs transcripts, but, as you pointed out, Hillary Clinton personally has made over $600,000 in paid speaking fees to Goldman Sachs. Bill Clinton has made more than $1.5 million in paid speaking fees. Goldman Sachs has given up to half a million dollars to the Clinton Foundation. So, we’re trying to press the campaign to really release the full relationship between Goldman Sachs and the Clinton family. And that includes how much money has transferred between Goldman Sachs and its executives to the Clinton family bank accounts and their businesses.
AMY GOODMAN: You also talk about how Goldman Sachs directly lobbied Hillary Clinton’s State Department, the company routinely partnering with the Clinton Foundation at this time.
LEE FANG: Yeah, that’s right. You know, Goldman Sachs is no ordinary company, right? This is a very powerful investment bank that has historically won influence in many different administrations. Of course, in the George Bush administration, Bush appointed former Gold Sachs CEO Hank Paulson as his treasury secretary. Paulson was one of the primary architects of the bank bailouts. Over the last eight years, we’ve seen Goldman Sachs aggressively lobby the Obama administration, seeking influence over financial reform, the Volcker Rule, Dodd-Frank. And, of course, we’ll expect Goldman Sachs to try to win influence with whoever is the next occupant of the White House. So this isn’t just a random company. This is a bank with a lot of political interests involved.