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Stephen Friedman, Bush's new economic advisor, has given more money to Chuck Schumer than to any Republican candidate for federal office. He is also a member of a non-partisan, anti-tax cut coalition.

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Bush Names Schumer Contributor As White House Economic Advisor

Stephen Friedman, Bush’s new economic advisor, has given more money to Chuck Schumer than to any Republican candidate for federal office. He is also a member of a non-partisan, anti-tax cut coalition.

President Bush’s new White House economic advisor—former Goldman Sachs chairman Stephen Friedman—has given more than twice the amount in political contributions to liberal Sen. Chuck Schumer (D.-N.Y.) than he has to any single Republican candidate for federal office, according to Federal Election Commission (FEC) records dating back to 1989. Friedman is also a vice chairman of the Concord Coalition, an anti-budget deficit group that has loudly criticized Bush’s 2001 tax cuts as “exceedingly unwise.” The coalition, a non-partisan group headed by moderate-to-liberal former lawmakers, adheres to a philosophy that government surpluses should be kept in Washington—in direct contradiction to that articulated by Bush himself, that surplus money is “the people’s money” and should be given back. The White House did not respond to HUMAN EVENTS’ requests for comment on the apparent incongruities. Friedman has been a vice-chairman of the Concord Coalition since 1995, according to the group’s spokesman, John LeBeaume. LeBeaume refused to comment on the economic ideas either of Friedman or of his own group. However, the coalition’s literature, readily available on the Internet, confirms that the group generally opposes tax cuts (as well as excessive government spending). The coalition even opposed Bush’s modest 2001 tax cuts, which the group’s executive director Robert Bixby called a “threat to fiscal discipline.” During the signing ceremony for the tax cut bill in June 2001, Bush stated, “We recognize loud and clear the surplus is not the government’s money. The surplus is the people’s money and we ought to trust them with their own money.” Conservative writers and economic analysts, including Jack Kemp, Larry Kudlow and HUMAN EVENTS economics correspondent and Club for Growth President Stephen Moore (see his story on page 4) voiced sharp criticism of Friedman’s appointment. When the official White House announcement was delayed for two days last week, many conservatives began to hope it might never occur. But Club for Growth Co-Chairman Richard Gilder, who originally tried to dissuade the administration from choosing Friedman, told HUMAN EVENTS that White House political advisor Karl Rove had his mind made up. Therefore, at the Club for Growth, Gilder said, “We’re saying, fine, it’s a done deal, on with the next.” Gilder urged conservatives to look at the bright side, arguing that despite Friedman’s apparent anti-tax cut leanings, his Concord Coalition credentials could make him a good ally for conservatives in fighting pork-barrel spending, new entitlement programs and government largesse in general. “If he were the No. 1 policy guy, I would be concerned,” said Gilder. “But I think he’s a tough guy, Friedman. . . . They’re going to use him, I would bet, to wage war against spending.” Fred Smith of the Competitive Enterprise Institute worried that a “dealmaker” like Friedman, coming from the world of investment banking, would replace Larry Lindsey, a policy-oriented supply-sider who was recently forced out of the advisory role. “I don’t know that you want a dealmaker,” said Smith. “In a policy role, we want a guy who just says no. Most of the ideas that come up in Washington are a special break for somebody.” Although Friedman’s contributions to political committees skew heavily toward Republicans, FEC records indicate that, like so many on Wall Street who like to help those they think are going to win, has also been very generous to liberal Democratic candidates. Since 1989, Friedman has contributed a total of $17,000 in campaign cash directly to Democratic senators, including Frank Lautenberg (N.J.), Chuck Schumer (N.Y.), Bill Bradley (N.J.), Jon Corzine (N.J.), John D. Rockefeller IV (W. Va.) and Bob Kerrey (Neb.). He has also given to such losing Democratic Senate candidates as Harvey Gantt—a big-government liberal who ran against Sen. Jesse Helms (R.-N.C.) in 1990—and Robert Abrams, who lost to Sen. Alfonse D’Amato (R.-N.Y.) in 1992. Left-wing House Democrats have also benefited from his generosity, including New York liberals Carolyn Maloney, Eliot Engel, Stephen Solarz and Nita Lowey, as well as Les Aspin (Wis.), who later became President Clinton’s secretary of Defense. Friedman also gave $500 to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee in 2000. On the GOP side, Friedman has contributed mainly to liberals, such as father and son Senators John and Lincoln Chafee (R.I.), Sen. Olympia Snow (Maine) and Sen. Arlen Specter (R.-Pa.). He is also a minor contributor to “Republicans for Choice,” a pro-abortion political action committee. However, he has given to a handful of more conservative lawmakers as well, such as Sen.-elect Lindsey Graham (R.-S.C.) and former Sen. Rudy Boschwitz (R.-Minn.). Perhaps as a result of his familiarity with many politicians, Friedman has enjoyed high-profile opportunities to affect government policy, even in areas where he does not appear to have any expertise. He was tapped by President Clinton, for example, to serve on the Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board in 1999. Friedman, who will turn 65 later this month, was co-chairman of Goldman Sachs, a global investment banking and securities firm, with Robert Rubin during the early 1990s. Rubin later became President Clinton’s secretary of the Treasury, but Friedman stayed on at Goldman Sachs until a bond crisis in 1994 prompted him to resign. He went on to work for the insurance brokerage firm Marsh and McLennan, then returned to the board of Goldman Sachs this spring. He is a director of Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and the Federal National Mortgage Association and serves on the board of the liberal Brookings Institution. FRIEDMAN-FUNDED DEMOCRATS President Bush’s new White House economic advisor, Stephen Friedman, has contributed to many liberal Democrats.

RECIPIENT AMOUNT
Robert Abrams (N.Y. Atty. General and 1992 Senate Candidate) $1,000
Rep. Les Aspin (Wisc.) $1,000
Sen. Bill Bradley (N.J.) $2,000
Sen. Jon Corzine(N.J.) $2,000
Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee $500
Rep. Eliot Engel (N.Y.) $500
Harvey Gantt (N.C. Senate Candidate) $250
Sen. Bob Kerrey (Neb.) $2,000
Sen. Frank Lautenberg (N.J.) $1,000
Sen. Joe Lieberman (Conn.) $2,000
Rep Nita Lowey (N.Y.) $1,500
Rep. Carolyn Maloney (N.Y.) $1,000
Sen. Sam Nunn (Ga.) $2,000
Sen. Jay Rockefeller (W. Va.) $1,000
Rep. and Sen. Chuck Schumer (N.Y.) $8,000
Rep. Stephen Solarz (N.Y.) $1,000
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Written By

Mr. Freddoso is the senior political reporter for the Evans-Novak Political Report.

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