McClatchy: Hey, the White House has some interesting connections to Goldman Sachs

Give McClatchy credit for taking a hard look at the political alliances between the Obama administration and the firm targeted by the SEC in its probe of the financial collapse.  Of course, Michelle Malkin got there first, both in her syndicated column this week and in Culture of Corruption last year.  At least, though, the word is getting out:

While Goldman Sachs’ lawyers negotiated with the Securities and Exchange Commission over potentially explosive civil fraud charges, Goldman’s chief executive visited the White House at least four times.

White House logs show that Chief Executive Lloyd Blankfein traveled to Washington for at least two events with President Barack Obama, whose 2008 presidential campaign received $994,795 in donations from Goldman’s political action committee, its employees and their relatives. He also met twice with Obama’s top economic adviser, Larry Summers. …

Goldman’s connections to the White House and the Obama administration are raising eyebrows at a time when Washington and Wall Street are dueling over how to overhaul regulation of the financial world.

Lawrence Jacobs, a University of Minnesota political scientist, said that “almost everything that the White House has done has been haunted by the personnel and the money of Goldman . . . as well as the suspicion that the White House, particularly early on, was pulling its punches out of deference to Goldman and its war chest.

“There’s now kind of a magnifying glass on the administration for any sign of interference or conversations with the regulators and the judiciary,” Jacobs said.

It goes deeper than this, of course, and one measure of this is who GS hired to represent the firm in this case. It’s none other than Greg Craig, the former White House counsel to Barack Obama whose previous mission was to close the detention center in Guantanamo Bay. Goldman Sachs told reporters that they wanted Craig for “his wisdom and insight,” and Obama told CNBC that no one at the White House would be talking to Craig from this point until the case is resolved.

We’ll see, but that’s mostly a problem of optics for the White House. I interviewed Michelle about her column on yesterday’s Ed Morrissey Show on the Patriot, and we covered the more substantial connections: