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Make Me Smart with Kai and Molly

Paul Ryan’s Wall Street connections

Marketplace Contributor Aug 13, 2012
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Correction: In an earlier version of this story, we incorrectly reported details of a September 18, 2008, meeting that then-Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson held with congressional leaders to discuss a potential bailout of the financial system. A spokesman for Mitt Romney’s campaign says that Rep. Paul Ryan did not attend that meeting. Also, according to the Romney campaign, Rep. Ryan’s stock trades in question were “done automatically based on an algorithm” to rebalance shares owned by a partnership. The Romney statement, attributed to Larry Gaffney, an independent accountant for that partnership, said that Rep. Ryan “had and continues to have no trading authority” in the partnership.


Jeremy Hobson: Mitt Romney’s vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan willl be in Iowa today talking with voters at the state fair. Many Americans are just getting to know Mr. Ryan, who is most famous for his budget plan. But he is already well known on Wall Street.

For more, let’s bring in our New York bureau chief Heidi Moore. Good morning.

Heidi Moore: Good morning.

Hobson: Well, Heidi lets go back to the most famous intersection between Wall Street and Washington, in recent years anyway, and that would be the TARP bailout in 2008 during the financial crisis. Where did Paul Ryan stand on that?

Moore: He supported the TARP bailout. He voted for it and it was because he thought he could avoid more government intervention with that $700 billion investment. So rather than nationalize the banks we could put some money in them and avoid a New Deal type situation and he also voted for the auto bailouts. What’s interesting is that Paul Ryan — the uber-capitalist — stayed very true to his roots, he actually traded in some of the stocks that he voting about those bailouts for. So for instances, he sold the stocks of JPMorgan, Wachovia and Citigroup on Sept 18, 2008, when people were still wondering whether there would be a bailout but he bought Goldman Sachs.

Hobson: He bought Goldman Sachs stock.

Moore: Right. These are very small amounts and it was legal at the time, now the STOCK Act would make it illegal. But it’s still interesting that he had that information and then of course, used it in the market.

Hobson: What about going the other way? Does he get a lot of financial contributions from people on Wall Street?

Moore: He does, he gets quite a bit, especially comparing favorably to say, Democratic Congressman Barney Frank, who’s very influential with Wall Street firms. So, Paul Ryan got $415,000 in donations from the financial industry over the past two years. Barney Frank got $642,000 so that’s actually not too far off. It shows the financial industry wants to influence him and of course, probably now more than ever.

Hobson: Marketplace New York bureau chief Heidi Moore. Thanks a lot.

Moore: Thank you.

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