Hillary Clinton may have to ditch her megarich Wall Street friends if she is to make another run at the presidency

The former Secretary of State's ties to the banks that almost brought down the US economy may leave her vulnerable to challenges from the liberal left of the Democratic Party

new york

Hillary Clinton might want to take the back door into Goldman Sachs, the investment house, in lower Manhattan on Friday. As she girds for the launch of her vaunted new book next week and thereafter – maybe, probably – a run at the presidency, fresh pictures of her on Wall Street will be unwanted.

Concern is growing among Hillary backers that her closeness to the banks that almost brought down the economy in 2008 could open her to potentially perilous challenges from the liberal left of the Democratic Party. Not helping has been a series by the leftist Mother Jones magazine highlighting those ties.

Since ending her stint as Secretary of State early last year – the period discussed in the book, Hard Choices, to be released next Tuesday – Mrs Clinton has made roughly 90 public appearances. About two dozen have been paid speeches. Her regular fee for a speech is believed to be $200,000 or above. Those who have hired her include the Carlyle Group, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, the National Association of Realtors, and the US Green Building Council. In October last year, she gave speeches for Goldman Sachs twice.

On Friday, Mrs Clinton, her husband Bill Clinton and their daughter Chelsea are in fact using the Goldman Sachs auditorium downtown to meet with top donors to The Clinton Foundation, set up by the former president to finance development projects after he left office. Presumably, therefore, the Clintons will be paying Goldman a fee for the use of the venue this time, not the other way around.

“She’s not giving any more speeches to Goldman Sachs,” one close advisor told Mother Jones in response to questions posed by the magazine this week. Meanwhile a spokesman for the Foundation said: “Goldman Sachs has been a long time supporter of the Clinton Global Initiative… We are grateful for their support.”

Among important donors to Mrs Clinton in her 2008 primary contest with President Barack Obama was Lloyd Blankfein, the chief executive of Goldman Sachs and for some the face of Wall Street. “I very much was supportive of Hillary Clinton the last go-round,” he told Politico last year. “I held fundraisers for her.”

In some recent speeches Mrs Clinton has attempted a leftward, populist tilt, apparently aware of her problem. Yet breaking that association with Wall Street will be difficult since much of the financial deregulation that helped precipitate the recent crash were passed into law in the 1990s by her husband.

Almost tailor-made to challenger Mrs Clinton from the left is Elizabeth Warren, the Senator from Massachusetts and hero of the populist wing of the party. Also being talked about, though less fervently, are former Montana governor Brian Schweitzer and former Virginia Senator Jim Webb.

In an ABC News interview in April, Senator Warren repeated her stance that she will not run in 2016. She called Mrs Clinton “terrific” but declined to commit to support her. But then Senator Warren let loose with exactly the kind of Wall Street critique that Mrs Clinton could not give with any credibility.

“I’m worried a lot about power in the financial services industry and I’m worried about the fact that basically, starting in the '80s, you know, the cops were taken off the beat in financial services. These guys were allowed to just paint a bull’s-eye on the backside of American families,” she said. “They loaded up on risk. They crushed the economy. They got bailed out. What bothers me now, they still strut around Washington, they block regulations that they don’t want, they roll over agencies whenever they can.”

The lurking risk here for Ms Clinton was highlighted on the pages of Time magazine by Joe Klein, whose has a longer record than any reporter chronicling the Clintons. (Mr Klein was eventually unveiled as the ‘Anonymous’ who wrote the book Primary Colours.)

“Is she willing to walk away from the egregious buckraking and speechmaking she and her husband have done with the global megarich in the service of the Clinton Global Initiative?” he asked.  For an answer he cites David Saunders, a Democratic consultant who has been close to Jim Webb. “If not,” Mr Saunders warned, “she’s red meat in this new age of economic populism.”

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Polish Speaking Buying Assistant

£18000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Superb opportunity for a BUYING...

Recruitment Genius: Support Worker

£14560 - £15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company offers personalise...

Recruitment Genius: Key Account Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A really exciting opportunity has arisen for a...

Recruitment Genius: Multi Trade Operative

£22000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An established, family owned de...

Day In a Page

Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project