This one comes from the Sunlight Foundation and is Reason #463 that your democracy really isn’t a democracy:
In the 2010 election cycle, 26,783 individuals (or slightly less than one in ten thousand Americans) each contributed more than $10,000 to federal political campaigns. Combined, these donors spent $774 million. That’s 24.3% of the total from individuals to politicians, parties, PACs, and independent expenditure groups. Together, they would fill only two-thirds of the 41,222 seats at Nationals Park the baseball field two miles from the U.S. Capitol. When it comes to politics, they are The One Percent of the One Percent.
Ful details are here. Read ’em and despair (and pledge NEVER to vote for any candidate that takes PAC or lobbying money).
You’ve probably never heard of him. But he is the one candidate talking about the single most important issue: the corruption and rot at the core of our politics. Until that is addressed, nothing else really matters.
Roemer finally got some air time on Morning Joe. Take a listen and see if you disagree with anything he has to say. It’s a shame the Republicans won’t let him on a debate stage. That would be something worth watching.
…in the story of MF Global. And if you want to understand what happened, all you need to do is read this Felix Salmon post.
“A more accurate story would be to say that MF Global got involved in a complex liquidity-management trade, and that it didn’t have risk managers with the power or ability to cap the trade before it got too big.”
There’s lots more on the details of the trade and the supreme hubris of Jon Corzine, which was unchecked by regulation, risk managers, or a Board Of Directors.
But that’s the story of modern finance, isn’t it? And if you thought the story had changed since 2008, well I guess now is the time you should head on down to Zuccotti Park and join Occupy Wall Street.
UPDATE: The New York Times’ Joe Nocera also strips the hide from Corzine’s withering carcass in a column today. For example:
When I read MF Global Finance’s second-quarter results, though, what popped out at me was its compensation expenses: 64 percent of revenues went to compensation. In any industry but Wall Street, that would be obscene. Indeed, in a talk he gave at Princeton last year, Corzine said that he’d been “arguing about compensation sins of Wall Street” for decades. Not enough to actually do anything about it, though, once he was back in charge of a firm.
Then there’s Corzine’s own compensation. When he walked in the door, he negotiated a salary of $1.5 million. (Incredibly, MF Global Holdings paid a $400,000 fee to Corzine’s lawyers.) He also received a signing bonus of $1.5 million, and $11 million in stock options.
But here’s the kicker. Like many executives — on Wall Street and off — Corzine’s agreement also covered his eventual departure. If he left MF Global because, say, it was sold, his $11 million in stock options would immediately vest, and he would get a $12.1 million golden parachute. Of course, the MF Global proxy statement doesn’t call it a golden parachute. It calls the payment “severance.”
Read the whole thing for the full deja vu all over again experience. And if you truly want to do something about it, Rootstrikers is an excellent place to start. Here’s what they are about: