Brown goes populist with attack on Whitman’s Goldman Sachs ties

Jerry Brown has stayed above the fray on MaidGate (coined right here, folks; you’re welcome to it) while allowing the harsh glare of scrutiny to scald his GOP opponent, Meg Whitman, the billionaire ex-CEO of eBay.

It’s a classic response to a controversy saddling one’s opponent. You don’t want to get in the way of a good hanging. Still, there are ways to draft off the winds of controversy, such as releasing a TV ad that furthers the narrative of the controversy, which is that Whitman’s character is in doubt.

So, finally, Brown reprises the Goldman Sachs meme, which had such a strong run in the primary and boosted Whitman’s GOP primary opponent Steve Poizner’s chances before he ran out of money.

It’s a simple ad that reminds voters that Whitman had gained from initial public offering (IPO) of Goldman Sachs stock that was later deemed by a Congressional committee to be unethical, requiring her to return more than $1 million to eBay shareholders.

The Los Angeles Times’ Michael Hiltzik had perhaps the best description of the world of IPOs and Whitman’s place in it:

Whitman was among an elite group of favored executives who had accepted preferential stock deals from Goldman Sachs while it was seeking business from their companies.

In spinning, executives would typically get shares in coveted initial public stock offerings, which they would “spin,” or resell, into a soaring market, usually within days and sometimes within hours. Their quick and almost entirely risk-free profits were effectively gifts, and the investment banks the givers.

Whitman attempted to dodge responsibility for her actions by claiming that there was “nothing illegal” about them at the time. (This is rather at odds with a credo appearing on page 130 of her book: “Be accountable.”)

The Brown ad is unabashedly populist, going right at the outrage that many voters have toward the wealthy who took excessive salaries at the expense of workers (she was paid $120 million, the ad says, just before eBay laid off 10 percent of the workforce).

Whitman spokeswoman Andrea Jones Rivera calls the $120 million claim an “outright lie,” insisting she was paid only $713,947 in 2008, after taking a salary of $995,016 for each of the previous two years.

But salaries are rarely the true measure of a CEO’s net worth in their rarified world of dividends, stocks and bonuses. Forbes Magazine, in September, 2008, and the New York Times, reported that Whitman received a $120.4 million, in salary, bonus and the value of her excercised options in her final year, despite eBay’s stock plummeting 49 percent.

Here’s the ad, and remember it’s playing right in the middle of Whitman’s troubles over how she allegedly treated her fomer maid, whom she fired in 2009 (just as she was ramping up her gubernatorial campaign) after allegedly just learning that she was an undocumented worker. According to the former housekeeper, Nicky Diaz Santillan, Whitman told her: “You have never seen me and I have never seen you. You understand me?”

Steven Harmon

  • RR, Uninvited Columnist

    Jive Jerry says Meg is ambitious, and Jive Jerry is an honorable man.

  • John W

    I can’t get excited for or against either candidate. Given all the structural problems that “we the people” are unwilling to fix, why would anybody want the job?

  • CA Voter

    Mega RINO is so proud of her love of illegal aliens over the welfare of the American people. She is finding out just some of the problems we Americans fACE because collaborators like her encourage their invasion of our country. I’d like to say that she desrevfes everything she gets from this but I’m afraid it will help her campaign. The charges are such bullsh*t and people probably hate Gloria Alhred even more than her.

  • CA Voter

    I’d never vote for a liberal like Vague anyway. My vote is going to the only conservative in the race, Chelene Nightingale. http://www.nightingaleforgovernor.com

  • So. Cal. Guy

    I blame the voters of California for voting these 2 candidates in. The top two candidates we have are BAD!!
    Meg and Jerry are the same candidates and for me that is no choice at all!
    There are better candidates for Governor like Chelene Nightingale or Dale Ogden, just go and check them out.

  • Sky Painter

    I have to agree with you CA Voter… I am sick and Tired of liberal leftists like Jerry Brown and of liberal progressives like Meg Whitman. I am also going to vote for Chelene Nightingale this year.

    I am not sure if you have seen this video, but it pretty much proves that Meg is no conservative, check this out http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iSn37TMXZO8

    I would urge you to send a contribution to Chelene Nightingale’s campaign. I have already done so myself.

    By the way, did you know that Sheriff Arpaio endorsed Chelene Nightingale for Governor?

  • RR, Uninvited Columnist

    An’ he’s
    Bad, bad Jerry Brown, meanest liberal in our town…

  • Elwood

    It’s nice to see that the lunatic tweety birds are still supporting Ms. Nightingale.

    They sure do sing sweetly. And they all show up at once. What a coincidence!

  • RF

    Hey Stephen why don’t report the obvious. This housekeeper is and has been illegally here in the United States for more than 20 years, lies to her employer(s) and has taken jobs away from legal true blood americans. And you want to smear Meg Whitman? How can Nicky the housekeeper afford Allred as her attorney? Why do you slam Meg Whitman because she has money? How much have you contributed to Brown’s campaign? Probably zero dollars because you get FREE front page press to promote his campaign. Are you going to get a job for Brown when he loses the election???

  • Benito

    The Republicans are so funny, when the economy is good you say let’s all celebrate “Cinco de Mayo, my brothers” but when the economy is down “it’s all your fault, you damn immigrant”. When most Americans (with Latin America roots) go to the polls this November we will remember that the GOP has gone on a nationwide rant in proposing and passing several anti-immigration legislation (that our US Courts continue to strike down) and have continue to blame the immigrant for the flat economy or worse. We will remember who stands with us and who stands against us, so trying to stop it now is somewhat funny, but go ahead, you will not change our minds.

    Plus the more radical of the GOP are now attacking our Constitution and our Bill of Rights, in their crazy notion of wanting to take away rights that all of us take for granted in their misguided attempt to garner some much needed votes, they really are fools, and leading the GOP towards obscurity because they are no longer a party of ideas, just of empty suits. Your hate made you do it, in November; you will reap what you have sown. I wonder what Abraham Lincoln would say about todays GOP, he unlike the current GOP was a man of ideas.

  • For Liberty