Hillary Clinton is campaigning as a guardian of President Barack Obama’s progressive policy accomplishments. In recent weeks, she has called the Affordable Care Act “one of the greatest accomplishments of President Obama, of the Democratic Party, and of our country,” and promised that she is “going to defend Dodd-Frank” and “defend President Obama for taking on Wall Street.”
Meanwhile, however, Clinton’s campaign has been relying on a team of strategists and fundraisers, many of whom spent much of the last seven years as consultants or lobbyists for business interests working to obstruct Obama’s agenda in those two areas.
Consultants associated with the Dewey Square Group, a lobbying firm that has been retained by business interests to defeat a variety of progressive reforms, are playing a major role in the Clinton campaign. Charles Baker III, the co-founder of Dewey, is a senior strategist and the campaign’s chief administrative officer. Michael Whouley, another Dewey co-founder, played an early role in advising Clinton’s plan for the current campaign by convening some of the very first strategy sessions. Senior Dewey officials Jill Alper and Minyon Moore are also close advisers and fundraisers for Clinton, while at least four other Clinton officials have worked at Dewey within the last four years. In addition, disclosures show that Clinton’s Super PACs Priorities USA Action and Correct the Record have also paid Dewey Square Group for a variety of services in this election.
On financial reform, Clinton has similarly tied herself to Obama’s legacy. Speaking with MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow last month, Clinton asserted that on Dodd-Frank, Obama’s financial reform legislation, she is one of the “many Democrats” who are “fighting to prevent it from being turned back.”
Clinton’s inner circle, however, has lobbied to help obstruct and roll back many of Dodd-Frank’s signature reforms.
The Benenson Strategy Group, the consulting firm run by Joel Benenson, now serving as the Clinton campaign’s chief pollster and strategist, was retained by the Financial Services Forum, a lobbying group for Wall Street interests such as Citigroup and Goldman Sachs. Lobbying records show the Financial Services Forum has worked over the years to weaken a variety of Dodd-Frank reforms. In 2013, the Financial Services Forum paid Benenson’s firm $273,459 to lobby on a number of rules that were mandated by Dodd-Frank, including capital requirements designed to prevent another financial crisis. Danny Franklin, a partner with the Benenson Stategy Group, wrote to The Intercept to say the Financial Services Forum is not currently a client of his firm, but declined to comment any further.
Last month, Benenson convened a conference call with reporters to “deride Bernie Sanders for airing an ad that criticized Wall Street firms and the politicians who accept their donations,” according to a report from International Business Times. As IBTimes reported, Benenson has also represented JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America, among other corporate clients.
And that explains now clearly what has been observed more than two years ago:
... Obama cannot pass neither one legislation for the health and social security. The visit received from leading bankers shortly after the announcement of the US government shutdown is characteristic. Bankers don't pretend anymore because they want to show clearly who is the "big boss". [fa.ev/new-deal-vs-obamacare]