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Covering Chicago's nine political influencers

Occupy's Enemies, Emanuel's Friends

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Mayor Rahm Emanuel has taken notice of the anti-Wall Street protestors -- how could he not, after they shut down Michigan Avenue on Monday afternoon -- but he doesn’t sound like a sympathizer.

    Meet The Press host David Gregory asked Emanuel about the Occupy Wall Street movement and got this response from the mayor:

    Occupy Chicago, Unions Team Up

    [CHI] Occupy Chicago, Unions Team Up
    Chicago anti-Wall Street protesters marched with labor unions Monday in a joint effort to demand jobs for the masses.

    “That’s an understandable sense of frustration on their part. And it’s not just limited to the Wall Street. Go in Europe, go in Asia, go other places, there is a major restructure going on in the world’s economy. If you can’t hear the public’s frustration not just what’s happening on Wall Street but happening in the neighborhoods of Chicago, if you can’t hear it, that means you don’t understand your role in public service.”

    But when the issue came up again, at an Ideas Week big-city mayors panel, moderated by New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman, Emanuel sounded less sympathetic.

    “Not that their solutions are solutions that I agree with ... but there’s a major economic restructure going on ... where the middle class are feeling an angst they’ve never felt,” Emanuel said. “We as all public policy makers have to think about how we give a level of growth where people can achieve a level of success for themselves.”

    Emanuel’s position is understandable, because his friends are the Occupy Movement’s enemies. March organizer Take Back Chicago’s website includes bios of three CEOs it blames for causing the financial crisis: Bank of America’s Brian Moynihan, JP Morgan Chase’s Jamie Dimon and CME Group’s Terrence Duffy.

    In Emanuel’s last run for Congress, in 2008, JP Morgan Chase was his fifth largest contributor, donating $47,500. That year, Emanuel raised $600,500 from the securities and investment industry, more than any other member of Congress, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. He was either the number one recipient, or in the top four recipients, of money from Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch, Citigroup, Morgan Stanley, and Bank of America.

    The group Occupy Chicago lists reinstating the Glass-Steagall Act as the top item on its agenda. Passed during the Depression, it required banks to separate their commercial lending and investment operations.

    Its repeal in 1999, during the Clinton Administration, has been blamed for the financial crisis of 2008. As a member of the Clinton Administration, Emanuel helped bring about closer ties between Wall Street and the Democrats, but you can’t really hold him responsible for Glass-Steagall’s repeal. By 1999, he had left the White House -- for a career in investment banking.

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