Two of President-elect Donald Trump's top Cabinet picks have deep ties to Wall Street investment firm Goldman Sachs, marking a sort of political return for the controversial financial giant.
In many ways, Goldman Sachs never left the White House, despite being on the receiving end of criticism for it role in the 2007 recession.
Trump's pick for treasury secretary, Steven Mnuchin, worked at Goldman Sachs for 17 years, before going onto Hollywood to produce action movies such as “Suicide Squad,” Politico notes. And Steve Bannon, Trump's chief adviser and former executive director of the right-wing Breitbart news site, worked as a Goldman Sachs banker in the early days of his career.
Trump’s top transition adviser, Anthony Scaramucci, also worked at the firm.
The welcoming of Goldman Sachs-affiliated people into the next president's inner circle seemed unlikely because of Democrats' criticism of the firm and Trump's campaign promise to “drain the swamp” of Washington of its moneyed elite.
“We are talking about a massive change in tone in literally just three weeks,” said William Cohan, a former banker and author of “Money and Power: How Goldman Sachs Came to Run the World,” according to Politico. “If this had gone as the cognoscenti thought it was going to go we would be hearing [Democratic Massachusetts Sen.] Elizabeth Warren with her megaphone saying no one with a Wall Street background is getting anywhere near a Washington job.”
But throughout President Barack Obama's administration, former Goldman Sachs employees, as well as other investment firms and big banks like Citigroup, were never far away.
During Obama's time in office, Goldman Sachs has been well-represented in his administration, according to Mother Jones.
Among the many people in Obama's administration with ties to Goldman Sachs are Gary Gensler, who served as the chairman of Commodity Futures Trading Commission between 2009 and 2014. Before that role, he worked at Goldman Sachs for 18 years and was a partner at the firm before going to work for Obama.
And Adam Storch was the VP of Goldman Sachs' Business Intelligence Group before getting appointed to be managing executive of the SEC's Division of Enforcement.
WikiLeaks also revealed that Michael Froman, a former Citigroup executive who is now U.S. trade representative, wrote an email in 2008 to John Podesta, who was co-chair of Obama's transition team at the time, recommending several people for top-level Cabinet posts for the Obama administration, reported New Republic.
Many of those people were eventually picked, including Eric Holder for attorney general.