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Sunday, November 01, 2015
Clinton Foundation hires Wall Street executive
By Sarah Westwood
One day after Hillary Clinton vowed to go after banking executives who lead their firms into financial trouble, her family's foundation hired an executive who escaped a struggling bank to work in the Obama administration.
The Clinton Foundation announced Wednesday it had hired Kevin Thurm as its executive vice president. Thurm served as a Citigroup executive for more than a decade, working his way up to become the bank's chief compliance officer before departing for the Department of Health and Human Services last year.
Clinton has faced pressure in the Democratic primary to shift left on a variety of issues as Sen. Bernie Sanders gains traction among the progressives Clinton had hoped to consolidate.
She made a pitch to his supporters Tuesday during an appearance on CBS' "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert" when she said she would let big banks fail in the event of another economic meltdown.
Clinton voted in favor of the government bailout in 2008 when she was a senator from New York.
But she struck a different tone this week, threatening to break up the same big banks she once represented as Wall Street's senator.
In 2011, CNBC noted that, "The bank that exposed the federal government to the greatest potential loss during the government bailout was Citigroup."
Thurm's bank reportedly took more government bailout money than any other "too-big-to-fail" financial firms, netting more than $475 billion in taxpayer funds.
Clinton's Wall Street reform plan includes provisions that hold banking executives personally responsible for facilitating behaviors that hurt investors.
Despite the staggering losses Citigroup sustained during the subprime mortgage crisis, none of its executives faced the kind of consequences Clinton has proposed.
Thurm joined the Clinton Foundation's upper ranks in what is only the most recent example of Clinton's quietly cordial relations with Wall Street.
Big banks have been among her top campaign donors throughout her career, supporting her and her husband financially by paying them generous fees to speak at events.
Clinton's friendliness with the financial industry has given her less flexibility to move left amid Sanders' populist surge.
Her continued reliance on bundlers with close ties to Wall Street has prompted some critics to question her appetite for taking on big banks.