The Washington advocacy group
The organization was identified by the
“Apparently Better Markets didn’t enter this crisis as well capitalized as our nation’s largest banks,” quipped Bank Policy Institute President
The circumstances of Better Markets’ loan are dramatically different than what prompted the lifeline for banks. Wall Street played a starring role in causing the 2008 meltdown by packaging
Better Markets -- like millions of other loan recipients -- was the victim of a health crisis and used its funds to save more than a dozen jobs, according to
“These guys are getting everything they want from the Trump administration and their regulators,” Kelleher said. “Yet they get angered by the mere slightest opposition.”
Bank lobbyists and others who have clashed with Better Markets have expressed their glee in emails fired off to each other -– and the press -- that note the loan won’t even be big enough to cover Kelleher’s annual compensation, which is roughly $400,000, according to public filings. Also making the rounds is a recent interview Kelleher gave in which he stressed that the government
Bankers say that hardly describes Better Markets, which is located on Washington’s K Street lobbying corridor. It was co-founded and funded by Atlanta hedge fund manager
A number of think tanks, lobbying groups and nonprofits tapped the aid program, a list that includes Americans for Tax Reform Foundation and Citizens Against Government Waste. As of Wednesday night, almost 4.9 million loans had been approved totaling $521.1 billion, according to the SBA.
Since its founding in 2010, Better Markets has become Wall Street’s leading antagonist in the regulatory arena, where deep-pocketed banks with legions of lobbyists have few opponents equipped to argue esoteric policy points. Small tweaks in rules can often provide profit windfalls, and financial firms routinely use the complexity to their advantage.
Kelleher also has a knack for getting under bankers’ skins, peppering his public comments with phrases like “too-big-to-jail banks” and “financial industry predators.”
After the publication of this story, Kelleher released a
In the earlier interview, Kelleher said that the group’s fundraising had completely dried up because it was mainly done in person, which hasn’t been possible since the coronavirus hit.
“Our entire annual budget is less than the pay raise that Goldman’s CEO got this year,” he said.
(Updates with loan figure in second paragraph.)
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