Wall Street’s Manchurian Executives

© Josh Sager – February 2015

In movies, shadowy and sinister cabals of criminals infiltrate the government and turn it to serving their own ends. One such movie was The Manchurian Candidate (1962), where communists brainwashed an American politician to be a sleeper agent, doing their bidding while embedded in our government. Unfortunately, this movie trope has become a terrifying reality, as major banks have been exposed in their use of multi-million dollar incentives to get executives into the government as their very own “Manchurian executives.”


Current legal proceedings between AFL-CIO shareholders and the Morgan Stanley, Citigroup and AIG investment banks have shown a spotlight on this practice. While exact compensation numbers are still kept secret (the focus of the case is the banks’ attempt to keep these sums confidential, even from the shareholders of their institutions), we do know that these banks offer millions of dollars to top-level executives in “deferred benefits” contingent upon them immediately entering government service after they leave the bank.

If the AFL-CIO is successful in their claim, the exact payment structures for executives seeking to cash in on this lucrative form of corruption will be exposed and I will write a follow-up article and break it down. Unfortunately, these specifics are still confidential and most of what we know is gathered from individuals leaking information about specific compensation packages (all of which have been in the seven-digits).

Banks are not charities, and the idea that any bank would offer millions of dollars in their own money to ensure that the best people enter government service is ridiculous. As for-profit institutions, the banks clearly expect to gain a return on their “investment” of these millions into the pockets of government officials. The potential scope and scale of these returns are extremely large, thus the investment of tens of millions into these Manchurian executives is likely an amazingly good investment,

Here are just three examples of potential areas where Manchurian executive could corrupt government:

  • Executives who end up working for the Department of Justice could easily abort prosecutions of banks and bankers for fraud, money laundering, or other illegal schemes (ex. when they blew up the world economy in 2008 and were never prosecuted).
  • Executives who go to the SEC could reduce the enforcement of certain rules that prevent banks from making even more money than they already do.
  • Executives who end up in the Treasury (ex. Antonio Weiss is a current counselor to the Treasury Secretary, while receiving between $17 million and $21 million from Lazard Asset Management to supplement his government salary) or FED could manipulate monetary policy to make banks truly unbelievable amounts of money.

In each of these cases, the millions of dollars “invested” in inserting bankers into government could potentially make the banks billions of dollars in returns or avoided losses from fines and legal fees.

The revolving door between the public and private sector has long been a problem in the United States, thus this type of corruption isn’t anything unprecedented. That said, it is an extreme manifestation of this problem and a very worrying precedent.


Traditionally, public officials are offered lucrative “consulting” or lobbying jobs after their public service is over, while industry “experts” regularly land jobs as public sector employees under the justification that they know their field and could be useful in an oversight capacity. This cycle cuts in both directions against the public good, as public officials will cater to the interests of the industry to secure employment later in their career, and industry insiders are unlikely to be harsh on their previous friends and colleagues who still work in the industry.

This use of preemptive incentives by these banks is an extremely overt and blatant example of the revolving door. Gone are the rationalizations and excuses—the banks are basically just coming out and saying, “Yes, we are going to bribe your officials and insert sleeper agents into your government and there is nothing that you can do to stop us.”

When Alex Jones and his ilk rant on about the Illuminati, Satanists and New World Order getting together in smoky back rooms to control the world, they are simply looking for a covert conspiracy where one doesn’t exist, while ignoring the one right in front of their faces (besides, us Illuminati prefer smoke-free rooms so that we can retain our ability to produce an evil laugh into a ripe old age). The real conspiracy is right out in the open and it involves well-known corporations and banks buying their way into our government. They use this power to protect themselves legally when they are caught stealing billions of our dollars, gain massive tax advantages, destroy competition, and secure massively profitable loans/contracts.


Unless the American people wake up to this blatant bribery and start demanding accountability, our nation will only continue to sink deeper into corruption and cronyism. The banks will write the rules and siphon public money into their own pockets, while leaving us to pick up the terrible messes created by their excess.

One thought on “Wall Street’s Manchurian Executives

  1. Pingback: Wall Street’s Manchurian Executives | The Beacon

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