Goldman Sachs just exploited a loophole in a set of rules mandated to the firm's partners that prohibit them from contributing to the Donald Trump campaign. Conveniently, the loophole excludes barring contributions to the Hillary Clinton campaign. Fortune explains:
The firm says the rules were meant to remove any implication of so-called “pay to play.” Four years ago, the bank paid $12 million to settle charges that a former Boston-based banker had picked up bond underwriting business in the state while working for and contributing funds to the campaign of a then Massachusetts state treasurer and governor-hopeful, Tim Cahill.
But the people in the Trump campaign are sure to question the timing. That’s because the rules ban donations to politicians running for state or local offices, as well as donations to state officials who are seeking federal office. That makes campaign contributions to the Trump-Pence ticket a no-no. Pence is the current governor of Indiana.
In the memo, a copy of which was obtained by Fortune, Goldman specifically mentions the Trump-Pence campaign as an example of one Goldman partners can no longer support. Among the type of donations that are banned, according to the memo, are, “Any federal candidate who is a sitting state or local official (e.g., governor running for president or vice president, such as the Trump/Pence ticket, or mayor running for Congress), including their Political Action Committees (PACs).”
At the same time, the rules do not restrict donations to Clinton-Kaine. Kaine is a U.S. Senator for Virginia, and not considered a local official under Goldman’s rules.
According to Fortune, the rules prohibit Goldman partners from contributing to the Virginia Democratic Party, which might be a reference to Kaine. Either way, the finance magazine reminds that Goldman CEO Lloyd Blankfein is "known as a long-time Clinton supporter."
Goldman Sachs did not respond to Fortune when solicited for comment -- and that's far from surprising considering Goldman has been at the center of a controversy surrounding Hillary Clinton's high-paid speeches to the Wall St. firm.
Recall that Clinton refuses to release her transcripts of those speeches, leading many to believe she promised Goldman Sachs preferential treatment or revealed that in some form or other she would act with the firm's best interest in mind.
The timing of these Goldman Sachs rules, which took effect September 1, and their unique loophole for singling out the Trump campaign for financial ostracization, certainly raises eyebrows.