January 9, 2018

When Donald Trump tweeted this promotion of the benefits of tax reform, I clicked on it and looked at the 40 companies listed.  Right away, a couple companies stood out…which made me think, “Yeah…ok, I know what their motivation is for jumping on this wagon.”  As I started clicking on each company, a disturbing trend began to develop.

(This running list is being compiled and promoted by “The Americans for Tax Relief” a nonprofit funded by the Koch Brothers)

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Some of the original 40 companies (the list has grown a bit since this was first published) are certainly just being cool with their employees.  But the others, I think there’s quite a bit more going on here than meets the eyes.  From the outset, let’s be clear: Banks and Financial Institutions are doing very nicely under Donald Trump.  Even if they are just jumping on the PR bandwagon, I can’t fault them for sharing some cash with their peeps. What is somewhat perplexing is the amount of Hawaiian banks on this list considering that Hawaii may very well be the most anti-Trump state in the union. I put an H next to Hawaiian banks.

American Savings Bank(H), Associated Bank, Aquesta Financial Holdings, Associated Bank, BB&T, Bank of America, Bank of Hawaii(H), Central Pacific Bank(H), Community Trust Bancorp, Fifth Third Bancorp, First Hawaiian Bank(H), First Horizon National Corp, Gate City Bank, National Bank Holding Corp, Ohnward Bancshares, Pinnacle Bank, PNC Financial Group Services Inc, Regions Financial Corporation, TCF Financial Corporation, US Bancorp.

17 of the 40 company’s interest in promoting the benefits of Tax Reform, are clearly questionable.  Some are relying on decisions of the Trump administration, some are directly connected to the Trump administration.  As a whole, the initial offering of the 40 companies promoting Tax Reform, is at best a cheesy PR stunt, and at worst-influence peddling and/or symptomatic of a deeper system of Quid Pro Quo with the Trump Administration.

Let’s start out with one of the Hawaiian banks:

*First Hawaiian Bank.  Well…there’s no delicate way to write this one out.  On January 31, 2017 the Hawaii Democratic party pulled all of it’s funds out of First Hawaii Bank as it’s parent company, BNP Paribas of France, invested $400 Million US in the Dakota access pipeline.  The Democratic Party had protested this move.

Also: BNP Paribas SA on July 17, 2017 agreed to pay $246 million to the U.S. Federal Reserve to resolve a probe of misconduct in its foreign exchange business.  It was colluding to manipulate exchange rates.

Also: BNP Paribas upped it’s stakes in an offshore drilling company by 135% at the end of November, 2017.

All of the companies that have a former employee in the administration, or were nominated/interviewed for jobs in the administration:

*AccuWeather “Barry Myers, the chief executive of the private weather forecasting company AccuWeather, is President Trump’s pick to run the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The appointment of Myers, a businessman and lawyer, breaks from the recent precedent of scientists leading the agency tasked with a large, complex and technically demanding portfolio. Every past NOAA administrator but one, attorney Richard Frank who served from 1977-1981, held science degrees.”

*BB&T former CEO John Allison was on the short list and did interview for Treasury Secretary with Donald Trump.

*Fifth Third Bancorp knows Donald Trump well. Trump nominated their lead attorney, Jelena McWilliams to head the FDIC on November 30th 2017.

*Malaleuca.  Trump also knows this company well.  He named their top lawyer to a government job.  Ryan Nelson from Malaleuca is the chief attorney for the department and principal legal adviser to…guess who, Ryan Zinke in the Interior Department.

*U.S Bancorp: Trump interviewed and considered their Chief Executive Officer Richard Davis, for nomination to the Federal Reserve Board.

Meh, ok…whatever, companies on the list:

*Bank Of America, probably just likes Trump. as you might recall, pulled funding from The Public Theatre in NY City for it’s staging of Julius Caesar in which a “Donald Trump-like” Julius Caesar was murdered.

*Turning Points brand Inc.  I have no idea what’s going on between Trump and this small goofy company.

December 22, 2017 “President Trump tweeted praise for a conservative group just one day after the New Yorker published a report on the group’s alleged racial bias and illegal activities.  Quoting Turning Point USA’s praise of his administration, Trump tweeted: “The Fake Mainstream Media will NEVER talk about our accomplishments in their end of year reviews.”

The New Yorker article points to a text message from former Turning Point USA national field director Crystal Clanton last year, in which she wrote: “I hate black people. Like f*** them all . . . I hate blacks. End of story.”

These companies have a direct interest in Trump administration policies or have quite recently been beneficiaries of Trump policies:

*Canary LLC just happened to be the beneficiary, one day after the list of forty was released, to the Trump/D-bag Zinke proposal to open all offshore drilling to companies like them.  “It’s important that the federal government make available new prospective areas to search for oil and gas to ensure we keep up with future demand,” said Dan Eberhart, chief executive officer of drilling services company Canary LLC. “

*Comcast rather famously announced hundreds of layoffs while it was announcing it’s bonuses due to tax reform.  Ya think they might have some mega mergers coming up with net neutrality gone?   Emmmmm  yes.

*Kansas City Southern is an interesting one.

Anytime he hears someone talk about revising the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), Kansas City Southern CEO Pat Ottensmeyer’s ears perk up.

For the past 20 years, Kansas City Southern (NYSE: KSU) has built and operated one of the largest railroads in Mexico, creating a direct connection between Mexico and the agricultural heartland of the United States.

In fact, the company once branded itself as “The NAFTA Railroad.”

“Jim Kramer singled us out on election night as the one company that would be the most disadvantaged by a Trump victory,” Ottensmeyer said during a Wednesday conference discussing the trade pact. “I will always remember the day after the election as our $1 billion day, and I’ll let you figure out what that billion dollars was, but it certainly was not a positive thing.”

*American Airlines and Southwest Airlines: “President Donald Trump is giving full-throttle support to privatizing the nation’s air traffic control system, a top priority for American Airlines, Southwest Airlines and other major carriers.”

*National Bank Holdings Corporation received regulatory approvals from the Federal Reserve Board for the previously announced acquisition of Peoples, Inc on November 28, 2017.

All of the info on these two companies is important:

*Both Navient Corp and Nelnet are large scale student loan companies.  They were 2 of the 3 companies on the short list to receive this massive control of all federal student loans:

May 16, 2017-“President Donald Trump’s administration will soon offer an exclusive contract that will give one company the right to service billions of dollars of outstanding federal student loans now handled by four companies, officials said on Friday.

The U.S. Education Department, led by Trump pick Betsy DeVos, said the streamlining will save money and increase efficiency. But critics said student borrowers could suffer because a single company would be granted a monopoly, with no incentive to provide better customer service.”

then, Trump cancels that controversial deal on August 1.   https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/grade-point/wp/2017/08/01/senators-combat-devoss-reset-on-student-loan-servicing-contracts/?utm_term=.d2684359ad0b

Let’s not forget how awesome Trump and Devos have been to student loan programs: https://www.studentdebtrelief.us/news/trump-devos-to-eliminate-public-service-loan-forgiveness/

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pay close attention now:

January 18, 2017“Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Sues Nation’s Largest Student Loan Company Navient for Failing Borrowers at Every Stage of Repayment.  Navient, Formerly Part of Sallie Mae, Illegally Cheated Borrowers Out of Repayment Rights Through Shortcuts and Deception.”

On Thursday, August 31st, “the U.S. Department of Education penned a letter to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), informing the bureau that their information-sharing partnership has been terminated.

The letter informed the CFPB that the Department of Education would be ending two agreements with the regulation watchdog. These agreements pertain to the sharing of information between the two agencies. Such information is used for oversight of the private actors involved in federal student loan programs, especially student loan servicers.

Student loan servicers, such as Navient and Nelnet, are private companies that manage and collect student loan payments on a contract-basis with the federal government; more specifically, they are contracted through the Department of Education.”

November 16, 2017  Trump stages a hostile takeover of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

“The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is the federal regulator charged with policing the predatory behavior of banks, payday lenders, student loan servicers, and all manner of other financial institutions that have a habit of ripping off customers.

Mick Mulvaney is the deeply conservative and rhetorically inept former congressman from South Carolina who now serves as Donald Trump’s budget director. You may remember him from the time he told reporters that Meals on Wheels “doesn’t work.” Or his flailing attempts to redefine the word compassion to mean cutting programs that help the elderly. He is also, generally, not a fan of regulations or regulators, and especially not the CFPB. “I don’t like the fact that CFPB exists, I will be perfectly honest with you,” Mulvaney once said during a House committee hearing. He also co-sponsored a bill to eliminate the bureau.”

and, “New Consumer Financial Protection Bureau acting Director Mick Mulvaney said Thursday that he is scrutinizing more than 125 active investigations of lenders by the agency as he decides whether his liberal predecessor exceeded his authority with any of the probes.”  he has since, put a freeze on actions, ceased the collection of data until systems could be “improved” and Directed CFPB staff to examine all investigations and litigation.

*TCF Financial Corporation– guess what?  They were being sued by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau too.

January 19, 2017 “Federal consumer finance regulators said Thursday they were suing TCF Financial Corp., alleging the bank deceived consumers so it could charge them exorbitant overdraft fees.

Banks’ overdraft fee tactics have long been considered predatory by consumer advocates. Such fees, which are charged when customers overspend their bank accounts, largely fall upon lower-income account holders.”

Most of this case has been dismissed in Sept of 2017.  The CFPB was to re-examine it’s standards after this case.  Where their review stands now, I have no idea.

 

*Sinclair Broadcasting Group.  We all know about Sinclair, at least I hope we do.  Their motivation is clear.  They are beneficiaries of the Trump administration and symbiotically connected to the Trump Administration.

November 17, 2017.  Christmas came early for Sinclair Broadcast Group, the pro-Trump local television goliath.

On Thursday, the Republican-led Federal Communications Commission voted on a series of actions that would eliminate regulations for local media ownership while approving a new TV broadcast standard developed by Sinclair. Both decisions will likely result in a major windfall for the Maryland-based company, paving the way for Sinclair’s proposed $3.9 billion merger with Tribune Media and for the widespread adoption of its Next Gen TV service.

Consider– If the merger is approved, Sinclair’s broadcasts will reach 72 percent of all households.

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I have no doubt that we shall be hearing further stories about some of these companies in connection to the Trump administration in the future.  It is important to just put a pin in this for now and remember, there is a connection.

 

 

 

 

 

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