If you ask Democratic Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, she’s the champion of the middle class, the tireless worker for the rights of average folks. Her political opponents paint a different picture. Both Clinton’s primary candidate Senator Bernie Sanders and her presumptive GOP rival Donald Trump have Clinton pegged as a pawn of the bankers in an ongoing attempt to fleece the American public.
They hit her with her multiple speaking tours involving big bank clients, a charge Clinton has tried to dodge. But there’s more smoke from that fire emanating due to her relationship with a public relations executive.
Michael Kempner, founder, president and CEO of MWW PR, is a big Hillary backer and fundraiser. Not only does his client list include U.S. Bank—the fifth largest commercial bank in the country—but Kempner is also a founding board member of New Jersey based ConnectOne Bank. So … here’s Clinton, pretending to be a harsh critic of Wall Street and the big banks, but she’s beholden to a powerful banking interest. Seems like there may be more than just “speech money” connecting Clinton to the big banks. That’s a charge many Clinton critics have leveled that the candidate has not yet addressed.
And while Kempner has hosted Hillary fundraisers in his home, including this week, his firm lauded U.S. Bank, saying “U.S. Bank’s legacy spans more than 150 years, and over that time it has remained a well-respected and trusted financial institution with strong corporate values and deep roots in the communities it serves … We are delighted to have the opportunity to help U.S. Bank broaden the reach of its compelling story to a wider audience…”
Having the sympathetic ear of a United States President would certainly help U.S. Bank broaden its reach. It’s an obvious connection, but Clinton continues to deny the big banks have leverage over her or her campaign. That’s a tough sell. (Saying nothing of a conflict of interest for Kempner representing U.S. Bank while on the board of ConnectOne bank.)
While we note that this week another PR trade, O’Dwyer’s reported upon rumors that MWW PR was for sale were denied.
That said, some say Clinton has been and will be beholden to the banking industry above other concerns. With her cozy relationship to a man who is connected to not one but two big banks how can Hillary put forward the message that she’s going to take action on Wall Street excess or keep the banks in line? It’s a fair question … and one the candidate must answer if she hopes to put this all behind her. Because Sanders may allow her to get away with not answering her critics, but you know Trump won’t let this go.
MWW PR and their banks may yet be relevant in this campaign.