In wake of ruling, Wall Street CEOs form conservative ‘action tank’
Just three weeks ago, the United States Supreme Court ended a ban on corporate spending in political elections, drawing intense criticism for the ruling’s potential to erode the democratic process.
This week, a group that includes some of the wealthiest Republican CEOs on Wall Street have formed a group to take advantage of new fundraising possibilities for the GOP.
The Supreme Court ruling could potentially allow the group, called the American Action Network, to take unlimited contributions from corporations for use in political campaigns.
“This administration as well as Citizens United [the Supreme Court ruling] — when you combine the two the prospects for funding these types of efforts are greatly enhanced,” said Norm Coleman, one of the group’s organizers.
Coleman called the group an “action tank” or a “think-and-do tank.”
Members of the groups include:
Robert K. Steele, a former CEO of Goldman Sachs, helped Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson make his former bank one of the biggest beneficiaries of the $700 billion bailout.
Norm Coleman, who supported President Bush’s 2005 bankruptcy bill.
Ed Gillespie, whose lobbying firm represents Enron, Citibank, Bank of America, Zurich Financial, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
According to the New York Times, the group also includes:
“Republicans who are donors, board members or both include Haley Barbour, the governor of Mississippi; Jeb Bush, former governor of Florida; Mr. Barbour a former chairman of the Republican Party; Fred Malek, an investor and official in the Nixon and first Bush administrations.”
During his State of the Union address, President Obama looked at the Supreme Court justices sitting before him and said, “With all due deference to the separation of powers, the Supreme Court reversed a century of law to open the floodgates for special interests — including foreign corporations — to spend without limit in our elections.”