Rand Paul Gets Private Audience at Goldman Sachs

Exhibit A of Rand Paul wrapping his arms around the moneyed class.

National Journal
Dec. 17, 2014, 12:08 p.m.

Sen. Rand Paul’s hunt for polit­ic­al pat­rons took him to Man­hat­tan this week and in­to the sym­bol­ic epi­cen­ter of Wall Street wealth: the Gold­man Sachs headquar­ters.

Paul spoke Monday to a closed-door audi­ence at the firm’s 200 West of­fices as part of an in­tern­al com­pany speak­er series known as Talks@GS. Paul ap­peared be­fore a couple hun­dred Gold­man of­fi­cials, com­pany spokes­man An­drew Wil­li­ams said, and the mod­er­ated Q&A ses­sion was broad­cast in­tern­ally throughout the com­pany.

For Paul, the ap­pear­ance is an­oth­er ex­ample of how a can­did­ate who first ran as an anti­es­tab­lish­ment tea parti­er (his 2011 book was titled The Tea Party Goes to Wash­ing­ton) has wrapped his arms around the moneyed class.

Paul has been can­vassing the New York donor set heav­ily as part of a widely ex­pec­ted pres­id­en­tial run in 2016. The fin­an­cial sec­tor is one of the biggest sources of cam­paign cash in the coun­try, es­pe­cially for Re­pub­lic­ans, and Gold­man is one of the biggest play­ers on Wall Street. Gold­man em­ploy­ees doled out more than $8.3 mil­lion to fed­er­al can­did­ates and parties dur­ing the 2012 cam­paign, ac­cord­ing to the Cen­ter for Re­spons­ive Polit­ics.

Monday’s event las­ted 45 minutes, with Paul tak­ing ques­tions from John F.W. Ro­gers, a Gold­man ex­ec­ut­ive vice pres­id­ent and chief of staff to the board, who served in the Re­agan ad­min­is­tra­tion in the 1980s and, at Gold­man, was a top con­fid­ante to both Jon Corz­ine and Henry Paulson when they were CEOs.

Paul spoke about for­eign policy, the eco­nom­ic re­cov­ery, and race re­la­tions, ac­cord­ing to Wil­li­ams, and he was well re­ceived.

Paul is not the first pos­sible 2016 Re­pub­lic­an con­tender to speak at Gold­man’s Talks@GS series. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas ap­peared earli­er in the year, Wil­li­ams said. Cruz’s wife, Heidi, works in Gold­man’s Hou­s­ton of­fice. Some past Demo­crat­ic guests have in­cluded Rep. John Lewis and former Sec­ret­ary of State Madeleine Al­bright, though the speak­er series isn’t only polit­ic­al. Car­din­al Timothy Dolan, bas­ket­ball play­er Ray Al­len, and de­sign­er Tory Burch have all re­cently ad­dressed Gold­man’s em­ploy­ees.

Dur­ing his ini­tial 2010 cam­paign, Paul ran a tea-party cam­paign in­fused by more-pop­u­list rhet­or­ic. Back then, in an in­ter­view later pos­ted to You­Tube by Luke Rudkowski, Paul hawked his ef­forts to audit the Fed­er­al Re­serve, say­ing one goal would be to “ex­pose the people through an audit—maybe like Gold­man Sachs and dif­fer­ent banks that are mak­ing a lot of money off the U.S. tax­pay­er through these spe­cial deals they are get­ting with the Fed­er­al Re­serve.”

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