NEW YORK — When she served as president of the Goldman Sachs Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the Wall Street giant, White House Deputy National Security Adviser Dina Habib Powell repeatedly partnered with the Clinton Global Initiative for a globalist women’s project that served as the centerpiece of Goldman’s charitable foundation.
Besides partnership with CGI, Powell’s foundation also directly funded the Clinton Foundation and partnered with Hillary Clinton’s State Department. Powell herself was associated with numerous groups and projects linked to the Clintons.
Powell served as president of the Goldman Sachs Foundation, where she ran the foundation’s projects after Goldman Sachs was implicated in the 2007-2008 financial crisis and sought to resurrect its shattered image.
The Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) was founded by Bill Clinton in 2005 as a part of the controversial Clinton Foundation. CGI was co-founded by Doug Band, co-founder and president of Teneo Holdings. Powell’s now ex-husband, Richard C. Powell, is president of Teneo Strategy, an arm of Band’s Teneo Holdings.
Powell, an Egyptian-American, reportedly received a salary of $2 million per year from Goldman Sachs. Her financial disclosure form from this year reveals salary, benefits, cash bonuses and equity from Goldman Sachs totaling $6,128,950.
As head of the Goldman Sachs Foundation, she specifically oversaw two major charitable initiatives, one called 10,000 Women and another named 10,000 Small Businesses. 10,000 Women aims to provide at least that number of women around the world with a business and management education to further economic opportunities and global financial growth. 10,000 Businesses, according to Powell’s Goldman bio, “provides small business owners in the US and UK with business education and access to capital.”
The projects were widely viewed as Goldman’s efforts to resurrect its tarnished image after the firm was accused of unsound practices that allegedly helped precipitate the financial crisis. “Engaging wasn’t just the right thing, it was necessary, especially in the wake of the financial crisis when people said we weren’t doing enough,” John F.W. Rogers, Goldman Sachs’ chief of staff, told the New York Times of the company’s charitable efforts.
Goldman would later agree to pay a $5 billion settlement to the Justice Department for its alleged role in the financial crisis. “This resolution holds Goldman Sachs accountable for its serious misconduct in falsely assuring investors that securities it sold were backed by sound mortgages, when it knew that they were full of mortgages that were likely to fail,” acting associate attorney general Stuart Delery announced in a statement when the settlement was finalized.
In September 2013, Powell’s 10,000 Women was a main sponsoring partner of that year’s Clinton Global Initiative conference, hosting numerous events including a panel moderated by Chelsea Clinton. Goldman reportedly paid the Clinton Global Initiative $375,000 for the hosting rights.
In 2014 again, 10,000 Women hosted the Clinton Global Initiative annual event. Hillary Clinton spoke at the CGI event and singled out 10,000 Women for its work. “Thanks to Goldman Sachs and thanks to 10,000 Women for really shining a bright spotlight on what is possible if you believe in and you provide support to women,” Clinton said.
The official twitter account for Powell’s 10,000 Women posted a picture of Clinton sitting at the event with Goldman Sachs’ CEO and Chairman Lloyd Blankfein.
— GS 10,000 Women (@GS10KWomen) September 24, 2014
Speakers at the 2014 CGI event included the Clintons, President Obama, actor Matt Damon, and Alibaba Group executive chairman Jack Ma. Session topics featured such titles as “Confronting Climate Change is Good Economics” and “Reimagining Finance for Social Impact: Planning for Scale.”
At CGI’s 2013 annual meeting, 10,000 Women and other groups announced the launch of a $1.5 billion commitment to act for “global contract opportunities for women-owned businesses based outside of the U.S.”
The Clinton Global Initiative was also a “commitment to action” partner with Powell’s 10,000 Women for a $30 million, five-year program launched in 2008 to educate women in the African nations of Liberia, Nigeria and Zambia.
CGI was further a “commitment to action” partner for 10,000 Women’s $2.5 million, four-year program launched in 2009 to “provide women entrepreneurs in Peru with quality business education and enhanced access to capital.”
The Goldman Sachs Philanthropy Fund run by Powell is also listed as having donated between $250,000 and $500,000 to the Clinton Foundation.
In the spring of 2011, meanwhile, Hillary Clinton announced in an auditorium at the State Department’s headquarters that the State Department would create a partnership with the 10,000 Women initiative to help bring the program to more countries. The New York Times characterized that support as underscoring the “long-running relationship between one of the country’s most powerful financial firms and one of its most famous political families.”
“Initiatives like 10,000 Women invest in the economic empowerment of women to promote security, stability and prosperity around the globe,” Clinton announced in a statement about the partnership with Powell’s foundation. “This new partnership with the Department of State will extend the reach of the program and provide individual women the means to build safer, stronger, families, communities and nations.”
Clinton said the partnership with State would expand the program to more countries with a focus on Indonesia and Haiti.
At a luncheon in April 2012, Powell described how women from Pakistan were educated in the U.S. as part of the 10,000 Women partnership with Clinton’s State Department.
Stated Powell: “We had our first graduation—this is a sticky situation—of this group from Pakistan on a Monday and it just so happened Melanne and I were going to speak at the Embassy of Pakistan and it happened to be the Monday after Osama bin Laden had been killed. So it was really interesting because here were these women who were just extraordinary, in the United States at the invitation of Secretary Clinton.”
Earlier, on May 11, 2009, Powell was one of ten speakers at a Clinton Global Initiative event co-sponsored with the Economist titled, “Global Challenges, Corporate Solutions: Creating Value for Business and Society.” Other speakers included Bill Clinton and Clinton’s former chief of staff, John Podesta, who at the time was president and chief executive officer of the George Soros-financed Center for American Progress and co-chairman of the Obama White House transition team. Podesta would later become chairman of Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign.
There are also crossover connections between employees paid by 10,000 Women and the Clintons.
Gene Sperling, who served as chief economic adviser for Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign, reportedly earned $887,727 from Goldman Sachs in 2008 for consulting work he did to help launch 10,000 Women. Sperling had served as director of the National Economic Council under the Bill Clinton administration, and he went on to take up that same position in 2011 under the Obama administration.
Also Noa Meyer, global program director for the 10,000 Women program, worked in Clinton’s speechwriting office when she was First Lady. Meyer is an advisor at the Clinton Global Initiative.
Asked by Fortune magazine what she learned from working for Hillary Clinton, Meyer replied: “I think the balance that you need to strike between impact and policy work, and how you actually draw attention to the importance of that work — those two need to go hand-in-hand in order to make change.”
Powell has other ties to the Clintons. In 2007, she was named a director of Vital Voices Global Partnership, where Hillary Clinton served as honorary co-chair.
Powell also served as a panelist at the second annual Women in the World Summit in 2011, which was keynoted by Hillary Clinton. The summit was launched by longtime Clinton ally Tina Brown, who also founded the Daily Beast, where Powell was a contributor.
Powell’s 10,000 Women partnered with the Obama State Department even after Clinton stepped down as secretary of state. In 2015, then-Secretary of State John Kerry joined Goldman Sachs Chairman and CEO Lloyd C. Blankfein to announce a new partnership between the State Department, 10,000 Women and the Harvard Kennedy School to train women in the Middle East and Northern Africa.
Goldman Sachs described the partnership in a press release:
The inaugural Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women-US State Department Entrepreneurship Program brings 29 entrepreneurs from the business, media, technology, social entrepreneurship and non-profit sectors to the US for a two-week program focused on entrepreneurship, leadership training, mentoring and networking to help them grow their business and create jobs. The program participants are from 15 countries, including Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Libya, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Lebanon, Morocco, Oman, the Palestinian Territories, Qatar, Tunisia and the United Arab Emirates.
Powell has been described in press reports as having a good relationship with Valerie Jarrett, one of Obama’s closest advisers during his presidency. Jarrett wrote a piece for the Huffington Post, cross-posted on the White House blog, recalling her attendance at Powell’s first annual 10,000 Women Dinner in September 2009 and then another annual dinner held on Powell’s initiative in September 2013.
“Tuesday night ended with a return to this year’s Goldman Sachs’ 10,000 Women Dinner, where I had the opportunity to meet a number of the program’s new graduates and participants, and feel inspired once again by their stories of strength, sacrifice and achievement,” Jarrett wrote.
Goldman Sachs and the Clintons
Powell joined Goldman Sachs as a managing director in 2007 and was named partner in 2010 in addition to her role as president of the Goldman Sachs Foundation. She headed the firm’s Impact Investing business, where she was responsible for Goldman Sachs’ “investments in housing and community development projects, deploying more than $5 billion in loans and equity investments to revitalize underserved communities in the US.”
In coming to Goldman Sachs, Powell joined a firm that has long been deeply tied to the Clintons.
The New York Times partially outlined some of the lucrative Clinton-Goldman Sachs ties thusly:
Over 20-plus years, Goldman provided the Clintons with some of their most influential advisers, millions of dollars in campaign contributions and speaking fees, and financial support for the family foundation’s charitable programs.
And in the wake of the worst crash since the Great Depression, as the firm fended off investigations and criticism from Republicans and Democrats alike, the Clintons drew Goldman only closer. Bill Clinton publicly defended the company and leased office space from Goldman for his foundation. Mrs. Clinton, after leaving the State Department, earned $675,000 to deliver three speeches at Goldman events, where she reassured executives that they had an important role to play in the nation’s recovery.
The Clinton-Goldman ties solidified in the 1990’s, when Robert E. Rubin, Goldman Sachs’ co-senior partner, departed the firm to serve as the Bill Clinton administration’s Assistant to the President for Economic Policy and later as treasury secretary, a powerful economic role.
The Clinton White House famously abolished the Glass–Steagall legislation, which separated commercial and investment banking. The move was a boon for Wall Street firms and led to major bank mergers that some analysts say helped contribute to the 2008 financial crisis.
When Clinton joined the Senate, Goldman Sachs employees, who mostly lean Democrat, contributed more than $234,000 to her campaign coffers from 2003 to 2008, with the firm serving as her second largest contributor after CitiGroup.
The New York Times documented federal tax breaks that Clinton was instrumental in securing for lower Manhattan, which helped Goldman Sachs construct its nearly $2 billion New York City headquarters. Clinton was there for the November 2005 groundbreaking ceremony. “Major employers like Goldman Sachs needed to know they had a partner in government to ensure that Lower Manhattan could continue to sustain their businesses in the area,” Clinton said at the ceremony.
The Clinton Foundation utilized the Goldman Sachs headquarters in Lower Manhattan for a number of events, including a May 9, 2014 meeting with the foundation’s biggest donors attended by Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton.
Bill and Hillary Clinton raked in massive speaking fees from Goldman Sachs, with CNN documenting a total of at least $7.7 million in paid speeches to big financial firms, including Goldman Sachs and UBS. Hillary Clinton made $675,000 from speeches to Goldman Sachs specifically, and her husband secured more than $1,550,000 from Goldman speeches. In 2005 alone, Bill Clinton collected over $500,000 from three Goldman Sachs events.
Goldman’s chief executive, Blankfein, provided a major boost to Clinton’s failed 2008 presidential bid when he endorsed her over Barack Obama and held a fundraiser in his apartment for her 2008 campaign.
Powell paid $2 million year, helped resurrect Goldman Sachs’ image
After being publicly implicated in the 2008 financial crisis, Goldman Sachs needed to endear itself to the public. Besides 10,000 Women, another of Powell’s initiatives, 10,000 Small Businesses, also may have been launched in response to negative publicity about Goldman Sachs, the New York Times relates in an article titled, “Goldman Sachs, Buying Redemption.”
The newspaper reported:
In late 2009, the company faced mounting criticism about the billions of dollars it was paying out in bonuses in the wake of the financial crisis. The firm needed some good public relations. And fast. Goldman committed $500 million over five years to another program, 10,000 Small Businesses, which helps businesses in the United States and Britain. …
Both 10,000 Women and 10,000 Small Businesses are featured prominently on Goldman’s Web site. Goldman has poured money into producing slick videos of graduates of the programs. …
Goldman is a firm that prides itself on discretion, but it isn’t giving away its billions quietly. … “It’s run as if it’s a Broadway show,” said one Goldman employee who asked not to be named because of a firm policy against speaking to the news media.
The Times documented how Powell’s $2 million paycheck stoked some “bitterness” among Goldman employees:
This has created bitterness among some employees — bitterness stoked by the favored status seemingly granted to Dina Powell, who runs the foundation. At a firm where pay is almost always tied to what money you bring in, Ms. Powell, who is in charge of giving money away, has made roughly $2 million annually in some recent years, according to people familiar with her compensation but not authorized to speak on the record.
Prior to joining Goldman Sachs, Powell served in the Bush administration as Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA). Democrats heaped praise on Powell at her confirmation hearings for the position. “You will have strong allies on both sides of the aisle,” stated Democratic Senator Russ Feingold of Wisconsin, who notably was a regular critic of the Bush administration.
Before her State job, Powell, at the young age of 31, headed the Bush White House’s Office of Presidential Personnel, where she led efforts to staff the Bush administration’s more than 4,000 presidential appointments.
Aaron Klein is Breitbart’s Jerusalem bureau chief and senior investigative reporter. He is a New York Times bestselling author and hosts the popular weekend talk radio program: Aaron Klein Investigative Radio. Follow him on Twitter @AaronKleinShow. Follow him on Facebook.
Written with research by Joshua Klein.