Hillary Clinton, Morgan Stanley And TPP: A Free Trade Triumvirate?

| Educate!

Above Photo:  AP Photo/M. Spencer Green

As pressure increases for 2016 presidential contender Hillary Clinton to say where she stands on the pending Trans-Pacific Partnership(TPP) trade deal, her ties to avid TPP supporters won’t escape notice.

One glaring example: A linked trifecta consisting of the TPP, the mega-investment firm Morgan Stanley, and the Clinton family that involves campaign contributions, former members of Bill Clinton’s administration and large donations to the Clintons’ foundation.

Morgan Stanley is one of many U.S. companies supporting the TPP. It’s a member of the U.S. Business Coalition for TPP, and since 2013 the firm has lobbied on issues pertaining to the agreement. According to reports filed by the company and its lobbyists, Morgan Stanley spent $4.04 million in 2013, $4.82 million in 2014 and $530,000 in 2015 (thus far) lobbying on a slew of issues, including TPP. Lobbying disclosure rules don’t require a breakdown of how much is spent on any particular matter, so it’s impossible to know exactly how much of Morgan Stanley’s budget was devoted to the pending deal.

Morgan Stanley’s role in the Clinton orbit is multifaceted. Thomas R. Nides, the firm’s current vice president, was deputy secretary of state for management under Clinton and is considered a close confidant, though he won’t be taking up a formal role in her 2016 campaign. Nides was also Morgan Stanley’s chief operating and administrative officer prior to joining the State Department, and served as chief-of-staff to former U.S. Trade Representative Mickey Kantor in the 1990s.

Then there are two prominent alumni of former President Bill Clinton’s administration who serve on Morgan Stanley’s board of directors: Erskine Bowles (its lead director) and Laura Tyson.

Bowles, a fiscal hawk known for his 2010 Simpson-Bowles deficit reduction plan with former Sen. Alan Simpson (R-Wyo.), served as administrator of the Small Business Administration and as Clinton’s chief-of-staff. He also sits on the board of directors at Facebook, another member of the U.S. Business Coalition for TPP.

According to lobbying reports, Facebook spent $1.48 million in 2013, $9.34 million in2014 and $2.44 million in 2015 (thus far); trade issues, including “free trade agreements” and “trade promotion authority,” were prominent on the reports.

Tyson, for her part, was Bill Clinton’s first chair of the Council of Economic Advisers (CEA), and in March, Tyson — a longtime University of California at Berkeley professor — sent a letter to Congress that she wrote with other former CEA chairs advocating in favor of the TPP and trade promotion authority.

Tyson supported Hillary Clinton during her 2008 presidential campaign, and was far from the only person tied to Morgan Stanley to do so. In fact, over the course of Hilary Clinton’s political career — two successful Senate campaigns and a failed presidential bid — she has received more than $543,000 from the company’s PAC and employees, making it her sixth biggest donor.

Morgan Stanley has also been a generous supporter of the Clintons’ foundation work.

In September 2014, Morgan Stanley announced that it, along with the Local Initiatives Support Corp. (LISC) and CDC Small Business Finance, had made a “$25 million Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) Commitment to Action for an expansion of the Job Creation and Community Revitalization Fund.”

That same year, according to disclosures from the Clinton Foundation, the firmdonated between $100,001-$250,000 to the organization. The Clinton Foundation has also received between $250,001-$500,000 in donations from the Morgan Stanley Smith Barney Global Impact Funding Trust.

It’s no secret that the Clintons have powerful allies in the business community. Whether she tacks in the direction of her previous support for the deal and makes those allies happy, or toward the liberal wing of the party that is far more suspicious of the agreement, the building pressure will make it hard for Hillary Clinton to keep silent on crucial aspects of the issue much longer.

(AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)

(AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)

  • History301

    I’m sure some dems are struggling with their party and it’s ties to those multi billionaires shoving the TPP down our collective throats, just as they did upon discovering what the superdelegate system is all about, or Sanders endorsing HRC. Surely some are having doubts in both parties as well they should. The two factions of the Big Business Party are not on the side of We The People, if such a phrase can even be used when naming the majority of citizens.
    Perhaps this is the selection cycle many have waited on nonetheless, since once congress is done filling out it’s depth chart and the new leader of the executive branch is anointed, and folks again see the system is going from worse to the inevitable worst of all time designation, it’s possible people could become so disgusted, they might lose the illusion that either party gives a damn about their interests and form a new one in revolt. I’d rather see a peaceful revolt than the other kind naturally, but will the status quo go quietly when and/or if the time comes? Probably not, but some can hope I suppose.

  • DHFabian

    It’s not so complicated. Google “Hillary Clinton and the TPP,” and refer to established, reputable sites.

    In 2015, before launching her campaign, Clinton was working on “selling” the TPP to Congress. This was not done secretly, was routinely noted on the evening news. Liberal media began speaking out rather strongly against the TPP. Clinton avoided questions about her position, but the end of the year, claimed that she was “non-committal.” Finally, after all of her efforts on behalf of the TPP, she (recently) claims to oppose it. For it until she didn’t know what she thought until she opposed it.

  • jemcgloin

    We don’t have to win, we just have to come in second. If a third party could beat Trump, both “factions of The Big Business Party” would be weakened.
    If we could get people to vote for third party candidates, and there are signs that more are getting ready to than have for decades, the “establishment” could suffer a major setback.
    More people than usual are very interested in this election. Less people than ever are probably going to vote for one of the major candidates.
    The best thing is that the people might feel this success and take it for inspiration to get more involved.
    This moment in time is a fleeting opportunity for the left to take advantage of instability in the system. It is not enough to tell Bernie people, “I told you so.” How do we get them to stay involved in fighting for democracy?