Eight groups representing progressives planned to call upon Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton Wednesday to condemn the controversial practice of Wall Street firms paying large bonuses, or “golden parachutes,” to executives who take on government jobs.
The groups, representing the progressive wing of Clinton’s Democratic Party, are asking the former secretary of state in a letter to endorse a proposed federal law that would ban such bonuses. The groups’ backing is expected to play a vital role in helping contenders win the party nomination to run for president in the 2016 election.
“These types of ‘golden parachute’ compensation packages are highly controversial, and for good reason,” the letter says, according to Politico. “At worst, it results in undue and inappropriate corporate influence at the highest levels of government — in essence, a barely legal, backdoor form of bribery.”
Clinton’s two rivals for the Democratic nomination -- Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) and former Maryland governor Martin O'Malley -- have already indicated their support for the proposed Financial Services Conflict of Interest Act, which also has the support of Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass), a leading figure among progressives.
The letter also points to two of Clinton’s State Department aides who joined the government body from banking jobs.
“On behalf of our nine million supporters across the country, we are writing to request more information about your positions regarding the revolving door between Wall Street and the federal government,” the letter reportedly adds.
The letter comes as Clinton prepares to unveil her policy positions for rural America in Iowa Wednesday.
Clinton’s media aides have previously declined to comment on her position on the proposed law. Clinton’s economic platform has focused on raising wages, which a campaign aide has called “the defining economic challenge of our time,” according to the Wall Street Journal.
She has also called for increased oversight of some financial activities that generate risk, but her campaign has said that she is still finalizing specific policies. She has also resisted calls to support the revival of the Glass-Steagall Act, which separated commercial and investment banking before it was repealed in 1999 by her husband, former president Bill Clinton.
However, her economic rhetoric has not focused on the issue of inequality as directly as Sanders' has. The self-described socialist has said before that “in America we now have more income and wealth inequality than any other major country on earth.”
Clinton has received a significant amount of funding from corporate donors, including major banks like Citigroup Inc, Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase & Co. She has also been criticized for the opacity of donations received through the Clinton Foundation. She and her husband, have also made millions of dollars though paid speeches to financial companies.
The letter was signed by Democracy For America, Rootstrikers, CREDO Action, MoveOn.Org Political Action, the Center for Popular Democracy Action, The Other 98%, Friends of the Earth Action, and American Family Voices.
“Do you still support the use of this controversial compensation practice?”, the letter concludes, adding: “If you become president, will you allow officials who enter your administration to receive this sort of bonus?”