Goldman Sachs Connections Toxic for Republicans, No Big Deal for Dems

Apparently, having Goldman Sachs connections is only a problem if you’re a Republican.

While on May 20, The Los Angeles Times gleefully reported that Meg Whitman dropped in the polls for the Republican gubernatorial nomination in California, they also quickly pointed out her “ties to a controversial Wall Street firm.” Additionally, similar stories in The Washington Post, New York Times, and Associated Press championed Whitman’s Republican primary opponent Steve Poizner and the California Democratic Party for creating attack ads that highlight Whitman’s ties.

”But with Whitman’s momentum slowed considerably, the California Democratic Primary has joined the fray—launching an ad that takes her to task for serving on the board of Goldman Sachs. ‘While Washington cracks down on Wall Street and Goldman Sachs, Meg Whitman is silent,’ says the ad’s narrator. ‘Is it because she was on the board of Goldman Sachs and made millions from insider stock deals?’” wrote Chris Cillizza in The Washington Post.

Naturally, The Los Angeles Times made sure its readers were well aware of the Whitman-Sachs connection:

“Then, on April 16, federal regulators accused Wall Street giant Goldman Sachs of fraud for its handling of tainted mortgage investments. The issue reached into the governor’s race because Whitman had a long and continuing relationship with Goldman. During her tenure at EBay, she had been sued by stockholders who said she had given EBay’s banking to Goldman in exchange for beneficial stock offerings. The suit was settled when Whitman returned almost $2 million in profits.”

Linking Republicans to Goldman Sachs isn’t confined to the Left Coast. In Illinois’ Senate race, the CBS local affiliate ran stories defending Democrat Alex Giannoulias’s banking woes and threatened not to cover the election if his banking woes continued being brought up. Meanwhile, CBS applauded Giannoulias for defending himself with an ad turning his bank’s failure into an attack on Republican opponent Mark Kirk that cites Kirk’s Goldman Sachs connections and labeling him as a “Washington politician who doesn’t get it”.

While the media enjoys linking Republicans or the Republican Party at-large to Goldman Sachs, they hastily brush off or defend Democratic links to the firm. As they cite Whitman’s connections as reasons for her poll drop, they all too easily flick away notions that Democrats could be hurt by Goldman Sachs connections, with Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan being the most recent example.

Even after an April 27 USA Today story revealed that Kagan was an advisor to Goldman Sachs, none of the network news broadcasts challenged this connection. Terry Moran of ABC News acknowledged that her connection was a “possible thorny issue” but that wasn’t as important as her softball skills.

Additionally, CBS News, the same CBS News that assertively noted that Whitman was “also hurt by the focus put on her ties to Goldman Sachs,” ran an opinion story by Charles Cooper arguing that Kagan’s “supposed connection to Goldman Sachs” shouldn’t affect her nomination, and Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer called Kagan “eminently qualified.”

Kagan wasn’t the only “eminently qualified” Democrat with Goldman Sachs connections that the media didn’t bother pursuing. Barack Obama received nearly $1 million from Sachs in campaign contributions and as Bloomberg News reported, four out of the top five congressmen who received the most Sachs donations were Democrats. While Whitman and Kirk have returned their Sachs money, Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid are among the Democrats who haven’t.

Despite this, the media continues to paint the Republicans as the party of Wall Street again and again but seem to believe the Democrats are immune to any political trouble from Goldman Sachs.