WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform Ranking Member Elijah Cummings (D-MD) issued the following statements today in response to reports that President Trump’s choice for Director of the National Economic Council, Gary Cohn, will receive more than $100 million—including $35 million in stock awards and $23 million in corporate shares—when moving from Goldman Sachs to the Trump Administration.
The $58 million in stock and shares would be illegal under legislation introduced by Baldwin and Cummings, the Financial Services Conflict of Interest Act, which would prohibit these types of “golden parachute” payouts and bonuses.
“President Trump promised to ‘drain the swamp,’ but his revolving door between Wall Street and Washington keeps spinning,” said Senator Baldwin. “When Wall Street insiders move through the revolving door from the private sector to public service, they should not be rewarded with golden parachutes and tax breaks simply for joining the Trump Administration. The people of Wisconsin cannot afford to have insiders in the pocket of Wall Street writing the rules and making a rigged system in Washington worse.”
“Our bill is critical to ensuring that federal employees are working for the American people—not for Wall Street banks,” said Cummings. “Golden parachutes into government are essentially legalized bribery, and Mr. Cohn will be beholden to Goldman Sachs in 58 million ways, even as he serves as chief economist in the Trump Administration.”
Baldwin and Cummings introduced their bill to slow the revolving door between Wall Street and Washington. The measure would prohibit government employees from accepting bonuses from their former private sector employers for entering government service. In addition, the legislation would expand cooling-off periods, tighten lobbying rules and reduce conflicts of interest by requiring senior financial service regulators to recuse themselves from any official actions that directly or substantially benefit the former employers or clients for whom they worked in the previous two years before joining federal service.
On October 22, 2016, then-candidate Trump said: “I've seen the system up-close-and-personal for many years. I've been a major part of it. I know how the game works in Washington and on Wall Street and I know how they've rigged the rules of the game against everyday Americans. The rules are rigged.”
The announcement of Cohn's big payout deal from Goldman Sachs follows the roughly $180 million payout deal that Trump's Secretary of State pick, Rex Tillerson, is set to receive from ExxonMobil, the oil giant he used to run.