Obama’s Crony Capitalism

“No more bailouts, no more greed, how many profits do you need?” That’s been a signature chant of community organizers and Big Labor thugs who have stormed bank offices and financial executives’ private homes decrying corporate welfare over the past several months. But now that the federal government and a coalition of big banking interests are poised to bail out a crony Chicago bank with longtime ties to the Obama administration, Saul Alinsky’s avenging angels are nowhere to be found.

ShoreBank is a Windy City investment bank with all the right (or, rather, left) ties. Its stated progressive mission isn’t merely to make good lending decisions, but to engage in Barack Obama-esque social engineering to “create economic equity and a healthy environment.” The ShoreBank corporate slogan: “Let’s change the world.”

The company website features a video of Obama in Kenya championing ShoreBank microlending projects overseas. ShoreBank has also touted itself as a “green” bank from its founding days — promoting dubious carbon credit programs, subjecting new borrowers to eco-litmus tests (“we look at how you use water, how you recover water and clean it, how you use energy, if you produce clean energy, how you manage CO2, whether you are offsetting CO2 that your product produces, if you are using sustainably produced materials”) and encouraging customers to participate in “EcoDeposits” to “directly support the green agenda.”

Social and environmental justice may make for good Volvo bumper stickers. They do not, however, make for a good bottom line. While the bank was on do-gooder missions around the world, business at home was in trouble. As The Wall Street Journal reported, “Losses racked up during the recession have left the bank facing a demand to raise new capital or face likely closure by regulators.”

Enter the Chicago political friends and family of ShoreBank. The ties are long and deep, as the Central Illinois 9/12 Project has been chronicling for months:

— ShoreBank co-founder Jan Piercy was a Wellesley College roommate of Hillary Clinton’s, who has long supported the bank along with former president Bill Clinton.

— Former ShoreBank Vice Chairman Bob Nash worked for Mrs. Clinton’s presidential bid as deputy campaign manager. Board of Directors member Howard Stanback is a Hyde Park neighborhood pal of President Obama, who served with Stanback on the board of the radical Woods Fund (where Weather Underground terrorist Bill Ayers also sat).

— White House senior advisor Valerie Jarrett served on the board of Chicago Metropolis 2020 with ShoreBank Director Adele Simmons, former president of the liberal MacArthur Foundation, where she focused on “climate change” and “global governance” issues.

— The bank and its employees donated some $12,000 to the Obama 2008 presidential campaign, and co-founder Mary Houghton reportedly gave advice to Obama’s late mother about small business lending issues.

In other words: ShoreBank is too politically connected to fail.

And now you, the taxpayer, may be on the hook for helping its cronies engineer a special rescue. Fox Business News reported this week that a consortium of large lenders — including Goldman Sachs, Citigroup and GE Capital — have partnered with the feds to pitch in a combined $200 million public-private bailout. (In addition, Illinois Democrat Rep. Jan Schakowsky has been crusading for a state-level bailout of the beleaguered bank.) The buzz on both Wall Street and Capitol Hill is that Goldman and perhaps others in the public-private partnership were pressured to lend a hand.

It wouldn’t be the first time that businesses have felt the Obama squeeze. And it wouldn’t be the first time that Democrats exploited the financial crisis to milk public money for their banking cronies.

The laggardly House Ethics Committee is still investigating Democrat California Rep. Maxine Waters, who had a personal and financial stake in Boston-based OneUnited, a minority bank that received $12 million in TARP bailout money under smelly circumstances. The bank’s executives donated $12,500 to her congressional campaigns. Her husband, Sidney Williams, was an investor in one of the banks that merged into OneUnited. Waters secured meetings between OneUnited execs and Treasury Department officials.

That probe has dragged on for nearly a year, which doesn’t bode well for fresh GOP demands for an investigation into the shady ShoreBank bailout. House Financial Services Committee ranking minority member Spencer Bachus, R-Ala., has demanded that the White House cough up documentation about any possible overt contact with Goldman about the deal.

Team Obama is smarter than that, of course. To quote Obama’s environmental czar Carol Browner, who pressured auto industry execs last year to cooperate on a fuel standards increase, they know “to put nothing in writing, ever.”

The fingerprints may be missing, but the stench of the Chicago Way is impossible to cover up.

Michelle Malkin is the author of “Culture of Corruption: Obama and his Team of Tax Cheats, Crooks & Cronies” (Regnery 2010). Her e-mail address is malkinblog@gmail.com.

  • Cuban Refugee

    Thank you, Michelle, for shedding light on these greedy nocturnal animals who may leave no prints on anything they touch, but the trail of stench and slime follows wherever they go. It gets curioser and curioser, doesn't it? Glenn Beck is also doing an excellent exposé on Shore Bank and its human, criminal "subsidiaries." When will Crime, Inc. be stopped? Is there anyone left in Congress with any decency or ethics? At what point in the takeover of our country by Marxist radicals will our checks and balances start to kick in? When will someone with cojones step up to the plate of impeachment? From embarrassing incompetence, to brazen dishonesty, to backroom dealings, to Chicago thuggery, hope and change is being proved to be the downfall of our republic and, by extension, the world.

  • Mary

    Excellent article! We wouldn't know the truth were it not for people like David Horowitz and Michelle Malkin! I don't understand why all the parties involved cannot be prosecuted under RICO?

  • Jim C.

    Oooooh…let's play "Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon" and call it "reporting."

    Good luck pinning this one on Obama! I'm sure it'll be just as effective as the AAA tempest in a teapot–"Alinsky, Ayers, ACORN!" LOL

    • Cuban Refugee

      PART ONE:

      Jim C. ~ You are forgetting that Obama cut his baby teeth in a Marxist crib as both his parents, his stepfather, and maternal grandparents all were communists. He was steeped in it from childhood, then had as his mentor Frank Marshall Davis who, when he wasn't engaged in pedophilia, taught our president everything he knew about subversion and the politics of "change." He admitted in his book that he consorted with radicals in college. He sat in the racist Jeremiah Wright's church for TWENTY years. He worked for ACORN, and taught Alinsky's "Rules for Radicals." In Chicago, his friends were the terrrorists Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn, as well as Michael Klonsky, a self-described Maoist communist.

    • Cuban Refugee

      PART TWO:

      He has appointed to his Cabinet, and to his list of unelected Czars, a group of Maoists and sixties radicals who wish to overturn our sacred Constitutional laws. Throw in his anti-Israel friends, Khalid al-Mansour, Rashid Khalidi, and Ali Abunimah, and his shady real estate dealings with Tony Rezko, and you have quite a stew — a putrid mix of diabolical people to whom the Cloward-Piven Strategy is an attractive way to bring down the last bastion of freedom on earth. Six degrees of separation, Jim? I think not — this motley crew are POTUS' alter egos.

      • Jim C.

        Well, like I said: Good luck with all that. I notice you forgot all his OTHER teachers and friends, including the many pro-Israel ones, because they're not quite so sensationalistic, are they? But this isn't really about facts, is it? Nah…

        It's not that hard, really. Obama's a pretty typical moderate liberal and what you see is what you get. Nothing he's done is any sort of shock to people who follow news. And you get to judge his actions every day in his duties as the elected President of the United States. And (provided you are a citizen) you get to vote against him in a few years.

        So you could judge him by his actions, there for everyone to see, or you could concoct devious guilt-by-association schemes and make silly predictions about the destruction of the United States. I guess that's more fun than following the real news.

        • Cuban Refugee

          PART ONE:

          Oh, yes, you are correct, Jim! I forgot Zbigniew Brzezinski of Council on Foreign Relations fame, the man behind the Carter betrayal of the Shah of Iran and the genesis for the current mullah-controlled jihad. He "selected" Obama for the presidency, and provided his diploma from Columbia. Did you know that nobody remembers Obama from his days at Columbia? Did you know that, in his lack of a paper trail, there is not one offer of proof that he ever attended Columbia?

          • trickyblain

            Of course you will simply say that this is "made up" so you can continue believe what you want to believe, but it's a fact that people remember Obama from Columbia. And Columbia remebers Obama, too.

        • Cuban Refugee

          PART TWO:

          And, although I am a citizen of the U.S. and would love to exercise my right to vote, I doubt there will be elections in 2010 and 2012. Now that Obama and his corrupt Congress have power, he will follow in the tyrannical footsteps of two of his ideological buddies, Castro and Chavez. Take that prediction to the bank, Jim … it may be worth more than the dollar or the Euro.

          • trickyblain

            I will give you 1,000-1 odds to your $1,000 if you really think there will not be a 2010 election…

          • Jim C.

            See, that counts as the sort of "silly prediction" I mentioned. One not based on any facts whatsoever, yet taken by you as an article of faith. And it's delusional quality will simply be forgotten when it inevitably proves wrong–you'll just be on to the next "prediction."

        • Rifleman

          You're right, he gave himself away early and often, and anybody fooled just wasn't paying attention. I saw the commie confidence man inside right off the bat, so it wasn't any shock to me that he's turned out to be just that. I didn't expect him (though I must give some credit to the dp congress and its' 'leadership') to make it so obvious that even a pliant msm couldn't hide it (Thank You Lord!).

  • Carolyn

    The wisdom of "Cuban Refugee" is astounding, and I thank him/her for it. It often takes an immigrant (legal) to see the forest as well as the trees.

  • USMCSniper

    Michele, Ayn Rand pointed out over 30 years ago that we are not a capitalist system any longer, we are a mixed economy. A mixed economy is a mixture of freedom and controls—with no principles, rules, or theories to define either. Since the introduction of controls necessitates and leads to further controls, it is an unstable, explosive mixture which, ultimately, has to repeal the controls or collapse into dictatorship. A mixed economy has no principles to define its policies, its goals, its laws—no principles to limit the power of its government. The only principle of a mixed economy—which, necessarily, has to remain unnamed and unacknowledged—is that no one’s interests are safe, everyone’s interests are on a public auction block, and anything goes for anyone who can get away with it. Such a system—or, more precisely, anti-system—breaks up a country into an ever-growing number of enemy camps, into economic groups fighting one another for self preservation in an indeterminate mixture of defense and offense, as the nature of such a jungle demands.

    • Jim C.

      The "theory" behind, say, FDA "controls" is that we don't eat poison. Duh.

      I think the distasteful thing you describe as a "mixed economy" is known to many as "life in a democratic republic." Damn right, your interests are not safe if the public deems them unsafe!

      There's the life of the (neurotic, self-obsessed) mind, which Ayn Rand led with gusto–and then there's "real life."

      • USMCSniper

        What a bunch incoherent anti-conceptual psychobabble that your post was. You say: "Damn right, your interests are not safe if the public deems them unsafe! " Just who now is the public? Just what is this thing called the public interest? Jim C. You are nothing but the product of a failed US public education system. Unable to think coherently, and totally incapable of abstracting ideas, forming concepts, and applying objective epistemological criteria to determine their results in reality. Go ahead Jim C. allow your capacity for evasion to acquire infinite elasticity as the truth hits you rightbetween the eyes so you feel good about yourself.

        • Jim C.

          Would you prefer a word like "the population?" Are you new to the construction "public interest?" Would you prefer "We, the People?" Perhaps "collection of diverse individuals?"

          I think not eating poisoned food is pretty cut and dried, you know, as a concept–but if you want to nuance and finesse it via warmed-over Ayn Rand, go ahead. I'll be here.

          • USMCSniper

            Listen closely. The substitution of minimum standards in place of a competition for reputation in a free market system doesn't work and never will. The FDA's corruption is well documented it is beyond belief. The Supreme Court recently considered a petition to hear the case of Abigail Alliance for Better Access to Developmental Drugs v. von Eschenbach. The Abigail Alliance is challenging a lower court's ruling, which found that terminally ill patients do not have a right to take promising medicines that have yet to be approved by the FDA.. Indeed, this case was initiated by a group founded by the father of a girl who died after she was denied access to an experimental anti-cancer drug the FDA later approved.