After giving a talk at a "Politics and Eggs Breakfast" in New Hampshire on Wednesday, Rick Perry was approached by Bank of America's director of public policy, James Mahoney. Their brief, sly interaction was caught on camera, but nobody took notice until Zero Hedge flagged it today:
As a general rule in life, it's always weird anytime someone just walks up to another person, says something while barely making eye contact, and keeps moving. When it's a bank executive telling a presidential candidate simply "we will help you out," the interaction takes on a particularly slimy appearance. For what it's worth, a Bank of America spokesperson tells Politico's Ben Smith that Mahoney was merely offering to discuss economic policy:
Bank of America does not endorse Presidential candidates. The reference was about following up on the substance of the speech about job creation and economic growth. Discussing policy issues that affect our company and our customers is something we do with policymakers of both parties routinely at the local, state, and Federal levels.
Just innocent chitchat! But let's say what Mahoney actually meant was, "Bank of America, you seem like you want to deregulate the shit out of this country, we're going to give you lots of money." Well, then ... so? Is there anything legally or ethically wrong with that? No. Banks are allowed to donate money to politicians, and politicians are allowed to accept money from banks. Is it surprising? No. Perry wants to completely abolish the federal government's oversight of the financial industry, so obviously Bank of America would want to help him win. Is it out of the ordinary? No. Banks support political candidates literally all the time. President Obama, for example, received millions of dollars from employees of Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, Morgan Stanley, and other financial entities.
Of course, if a camera ever caught a Goldman employee striding up to Obama and whispering "Goldman Sachs; we will help you out," it would probably cause something of a commotion, and Matt Taibbi would spontaneously combust.