When openly bribing a politician, financier or any other power figure is too – how should we put it – illegal, there is a well-known loophole that has been used for decades to circumvent the straight to jail hazard: the old “pay for speeches” shortcut, where otherwise boring, insipid and uninspirational figures who have nothing original or creative to say, getting paid $100,000, $200,000 or much more for an hour of their time to “speak.” Of course, even five-year-olds realize that this arrangement, despite what it is called, is just a way to either buy future favors from said “speaker”, or repay them for previous preferential treatment (such as taxpayer-funded bailouts), while making them filthy rich in the process.
It certainly worked with the Clinton Foundation, where the tens of millions spent by foreign US adversaries, especially those in the Middle East, to fund such a “generous” and noble pursuit as a (fully tax-exempt) foundation generated amazing “returns” when Hillary Clinton ran the State Department. Of course, it wasn’t just rich petrostates that sought payback for their
bribes donations: for all those who couldn’t afford a $5 million check to this Clinton Foundation initiative or that (where miraculously, the foundation kept around 94% of the “donations” to cover “overhead“), there was always the 2nd tier of influence peddling better known as “paying for speeches”, and as the following list of Hillary Clinton speeches delivered in the 2013-2015 period clearly shows, many were convinced that Hillary would replace Barack Obama in 2016 and be the next US “president for hire” to special interests and generous lobby groups.
Of course, when it comes to Hillary Clinton, it is hardly a secret that the former first lady would do anything to wave in some influence cash. It’s also hardly a secret that one Clinton’s chances of becoming next president, donations to the Clinton Foundation “unexpectedly” collapsed.
What, however, may come as a surprise is that none other than arguably the most boring speaker of the 21st century, former Fed chair Janet Yellen – and future Secretary of the Treasury, a post which also doubles as the top bank supervisor in the US – who would send Red Bull stock limit up every time she spoke (or she would, if Red Bull wasn’t a private company) has been raking in millions from – you guessed it – speeches.
According to Yellen’s financial disclosure document, the 74-year-old former Fed chair has raked in a whopping $7.3 million in speaking fees in just the past two years from Wall Street banks and large corporations including Citi, Goldman Sachs, Google, City National Bank, UBS, Citadel, Barclays, Credit Suisse, Salesforce. Did we mention Citadel? We did, but we should mention it again because for some odd reason the high frequency trading firm which was recently busted for frontrunning its own clients (and everyone knows what Citadel has been doing with Robinhood option orderflow) has been Janet Yellen’s biggest customer, paying her over $800,000 (!) for three speeches (in Oct 2019, Dec 2019, and again Oct 2010). And yes, this is the same Citadel where Yellen’s predecessor at the Fed, Ben Bernanke remains a “senior advisor” although how this man, who has never traded one share in his entire life, is advising hedge fund and trading giant like Citadel, remains a mystery.
What isn’t a mystery is why all these Wall Street firms, on at least 57 occasions, decided to fork over on average $127,310 to listen to Janet Yellen’s confoundingly boring monotone: the reason is simple – to buy influence from the one private sector individual that virtually everyone knew would soon return to “public service” under whatever administration followed Trump, and that’s precisely what happened now that Janet Yellen will not only be in charge of the Treasury, but effectively in charge of the Fed too thanks to recent quasi fusion between the two institutions, which was required to launch helicopter money/MMT. That alone explains why Citi almost $1 million listening to Yellen on at least nine occasions in the past two years.
The result: Yellen is now literally in the pocket, and of virtually every Wall Street investment bank and trading firm.
The full breakdown of Yellen’s bribes speaking fees is shown below. What is also notable is that since March 2020, or around the time covid forced all conferences to be via zoom, Yellen has collected over $1.7 million in zoom appearances, not even “speeches”, on at least 24 occasions since March!
Here is a full list of all the Wall Street companies that have paid Yellen since the start of 2019.
For those wondering if Yellen actually needs all this money, the answer is of course not: in addition to millions in various financial assets listed, including between $1 and $5 million in a “cash account”, Yellen also has a Stamp Collection worth between $15,001 and $50,000 or more than most Americans are worth. Oh, and Yellen also has some miracle investment in the Vanguard Short Term Bond Index Fund and the Vanguard European Stock Index Fund which has a value of “none” and yet generated over $115,000 in annual income.
As Politico notes, Yellen’s financial disclosure is one of three filed by the Biden team at the end of 2020 “that could become politically problematic with the left wing of the Democratic Party when confirmation hearings begin in January.”
If you’re embarrassed that your party just put in charge of the Treasury Dept someone who got wildly rich by collecting $250k checks from Wall St for 1 hour of “work,” then pressure your party to change.
Don’t exploit misogyny smears to try to deter reporters from revealing it.
— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) January 1, 2021
We, however, doubt this will be an issue: with Wall Street now delighted that the person it had
bribed paid so generously for hours of intelligible and muffled stammering will now be Treasury Secretary, and quite happy to bail all Wall Street firms yet again after the next crash, we are confident that Wall Street – which just happens to be the puppet-master controlling both the president and Congress – will steamroll all opposition and in a few weeks, Yellen will be signing all newly printed dollar bills until early 2022 of course when all fiat currency will be “printed” digitally by the Fed and distributed directly by the central bank to any and all Americans it deems worthy.