Donald Trump's billion-dollar betrayal: Why his "self-financed" campaign has cozied up to the same forces that doomed his followers

In a plan to amass a gargantuan campaign war chest, Trump has brought in the same Wall St. elite his fans despise

Published May 9, 2016 9:57AM (EDT)

Donald Trump (Reuters/Rick Wilking)
Donald Trump (Reuters/Rick Wilking)

It took only 48 hours between the time that Donald Trump was declared the presumptive GOP nominee and Trump’s selection of Steve Mnuchin, a hedge fund founder and second generation Goldman Sachs alum, as his national campaign finance chair, who has committed to help raise in excess of a billion dollars for the general election.

The primary version of Trump was a “self-financing” billionaire, who so loved America that he would put his fortune at risk to right what was wrong with a nation where the political class had long ago sold their souls to the likes of Goldman Sachs. This self-styled hero of the white working class would use his own fortune to advance the cause of the tens of millions of people betrayed by the elites.

Of course, with Donald Trump you must circle back and check his Federal Election Commission filings to flesh out just what he means by “self-financing.” According to the latest FEC filings, $35.9 million of the $46 million Trump has raised came in the form of 18 loans from the candidate himself to his campaign, starting back in April of last year. Trump’s campaign has raised just over $12 million from the public, with $9.2 million from small donors giving $200 or less. By contrast, Senator Bernie Sanders has raised $182 million, with 65 percent of that total coming from his army of small donors.

Now, with his pick of Mnuchin as his finance chair, Trump has brought himself into complete alignment with the capital forces that have betrayed America’s working class and turned our two party system into a two-headed serpent that long ago sucked the blood out of whatever made America great. While the 2008 Wall Street collapse resulted in millions of Americans losing their jobs, homes, and retirement savings, key players were able to benefit handsomely from the national calamity -- including Trump’s new campaign finance chair.

Back in 2009, Mnuchin put together a $1.5 billion deal with George Soros and John Paulson to buy what was left of IndyMac, a California bank which federal regulators had closed in 2008. IndyMac was ground zero for all sorts of predatory and fraudulent mortgage practices that the Center For Responsible Lending, a non-profit advocacy group, says targeted the elderly and minorities.

At first, bank regulators estimated it would cost the FDIC between $4 to $8 billion to properly unwind the bank, but the Los Angeles Times reported the cost spiked to $13 billion. Mnuchin rebranded IndyMac as OneWest Bank. In just two years, with the acquisition of additional failed banks, OneWest had amassed a $141 billion portfolio in residential mortgages they were servicing. Bloomberg News hailed Mnuchin’s IndyMac play as “making a killing.

But just two years after the failed zombie bank had been brought back to life by Mnuchin, it was back in the cross hairs of regulators with the Office of Thrift Supervision for “unsafe” and “unsound” handling of residential mortgages and foreclosures. By April of 2011, Mnuchin entered into a consent decree with regulators committing to a rigorous overhaul of the bank’s operations, including its compliance program.

According to the consent decree, OneWest Bank had “failed to devote sufficient financial, staffing and managerial resources to ensure proper administration of its foreclosure processes; failed to devote to its foreclosure processes adequate oversight, internal controls, policies, and procedures, compliance risk management, internal audit, third party management, and training; and failed sufficiently to oversee outside counsel and other third-party providers handling foreclosure-related services.”

But the settlement with the OTS did not appease 100 anti-foreclosure activists, who, in October of 2011, marched on Mnuchin’s $26 million Bel Air mansion carrying signs that read “Steve Mnuchin OneWest Bank Stop Taking Our Homes.”

Last August, Trump let his contempt for conventional political fundraising be known. “I wish good luck to all of the Republican candidates that traveled to California to beg for money from the Koch Brothers,” Trump tweeted.“Puppets?”

Back in June of last year, when Trump kicked off his campaign he was indicting the nation’s entire political class for always having their hand out to special interests to fund their campaigns.

“So I’ve watched the politicians. I’ve dealt with them all my life. If you can’t make a good deal with a politician, then there’s something wrong with you,” Trump said. “You’re certainly not very good. And that’s what we have representing us. They will never make America great again. They don’t even have a chance. They’re controlled fully— they’re controlled fully by the lobbyists, by the donors, and by the special interests, fully.”

So, just what will donors get for the billion they’ll give Trump?


By Robert Hennelly

MORE FROM Robert Hennelly

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Donald Trump Elections 2016 Finance Financial Crisis Gop Primary Mortgage Crisis Wall Street