Larry Summers’ summer ride on a posh corporate jet owned by Citigroup shows how both Democrats and Republicans had become cozy with America’s once-powerful financial-sector elites before last year’s Wall Street meltdown, observers say.
Phineas Baxandall, a senior analyst with the U.S. Public Interest Research Group, said it was “disappointing to hear” that Summers, as an economic adviser to Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama, hitched a freebie lift on a Citigroup jet last August while attending the Democratic National Convention in Denver.
While saying he didn’t know details about Summers’ freebie ride, Phineas said Democrats and Republicans became too close to those in the financial industry in past years, creating “potential for undo influence” among bankers over current and future policies.
The White House has downplayed Summers’ Citi trip last summer, saying he was a private citizen at the time - though he later became Obama’s top economic adviser.
Mary Boyle, a spokeswoman for Common Cause, blamed political campaign donations and corporate lobbying for policymakers not cracking down on the financial sector.
What's the big deal? Bankers scratch uncle Larry's back, he scratches theirs...