What could go wrong?
Biden is appointing Gene Sperling to a role overseeing the implementation of the administration’s coronavirus relief plan, a White House official confirmed on Monday.
The announcement could come as early as Monday, sources familiar with the plans told POLITICO, which first reported the administration’s plans to tap Sperling.
Sperling, who currently lives in Los Angeles with his family, brings a wealth of experience on economic policy issues to the stimulus czar position. He served as head of the National Economic Council under both Clinton and Obama as well as a top adviser at the Treasury Department under Obama.
The Politico bio leaves out some major aspects of Sperling’s career. Especially one really big one.
In 2011, Gene Sperling had a problem. He was working as President Obama’s chief economic advisor but his government salary did not cover his expenses. He and his wife lived in a Georgetown townhouse valued today at around $2 million, but did not have enough equity to qualify for a second mortgage or credit line. He didn’t want to sell the house and he wanted to keep working at a prestigious but relatively low-paid public service job.
And so Sperling turned to a close friend from law school: Howard Shapiro. A top partner at the Washington powerhouse law firm WilmerHale, Shapiro had loaned Sperling money before and was willing to do so again. Sperling asked the White House Counsel’s office and the Office of Government Ethics for permission to borrow from Shapiro, whose firm frequently negotiates with the government on behalf of some of the nation’s leading corporations. Officials approved the transactions.
So in 2011, Sperling borrowed between $100,000 and $250,000 from Shapiro at 5 percent, a rate that appears to be well below the interest banks charged at the time for comparable loans. Sperling listed his borrowing on his financial disclosure forms.
In each of the next two years, Sperling went to Shapiro again, taking out two more loans that brought his debt to a total of between $300,000 and $600,000. (The forms require disclosure of a range, not specific figures.) The loans are unsecured. Sperling consolidated earlier loans from Shapiro, one made in 2006 and the 2011 loan, into the later ones.
Today, Sperling is advising the Hillary Clinton campaign on economics. In a “Funny or Die” spoof shown last month to the Democratic National Convention, he warned that Donald Trump’s policies would lead to dangerous levels of debt for the country.
Wouldn’t want that.
Shapiro is a partner and litigator at WilmerHale and the firm routinely represents clients with business before the federal government. Shapiro and WilmerHale’s clients have included major financial institutions, such as Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase.
Sperling also got a bunch of money from Goldman Sachs
Goldman Sachs paid Sperling the $887,727 for advice on its charitable giving. That made the bank his highest-paying employer.
Sperling told Bloomberg, “My sole work for Goldman Sachs was as lead consultant on the creation, design, and initial implementation of ‘10,000 Women,’ their $100 million philanthropic effort to give business and leadership education to poor women around the world….”
Among other paid speeches, “Sperling spoke at a Washington event hosted by the Houston-based Stanford Group Co. in November 2008, three months before its chairman was sued by the Securities and Exchange Commission for allegedly bilking investors of $7 billion. He also spoke at a Washington event in October 2007 that was sponsored by Citigroup, which has received $45 billion in government assistance.”
Nothing to see here folks. Just good government that the media need not bother to cover.
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