THE BLOG
10/29/2013 04:11 pm ET | Updated Jan 23, 2014

At the Top, Everybody Knows Everybody

On 19 October 2013, Kent Cooper at Roll Call published "Mary Matalin Contributes to Ted Cruz Campaign," reporting that Ms. Matalin donated $1,000 to the Ted Cruz for Senate Campaign Committee, on August 8th. "This was the same week that Sen. Cruz was at Matalin's house in New Orleans."

That's also the house of Matalin's husband, James Carville, who was Bill Clinton's top political strategist, and who was also one of Hillary Clinton's top strategists, as well as her chief spokesperson during her 2008 Democratic primary campaign against Barack Obama. Among the other donors who were listed for Cruz during his latest financial report, the largest individual donation was "$5,000 from Alvin Dworman." The largest PAC donation was "$5,000 from American Legacy PAC." At opensecrets.org, the top sources of contributions to Mr. Cruz's political career were listed as the Club For Growth, and Senate Conservatives Fund, which together donated over a million dollars; no other entity donated even $100,000. However, as Open Secrets also explained, the #5 contributor, Goldman Sachs, also managed his money and provided his health care, and his wife is a vice president of GS. Moreover, the #17 contributor, Berkshire Hathaway (headed by a "Democrat," Warren Buffett), hired Baker Botts as their law firm, and BB was the #8 donor. So, Cruz, who led the government-shutdown and the push for a default, had bipartisan support.

Who is Alvin Dworman? He is shown as having made in 2012 many multi-thousand-dollar donations to "Josh Mandel Senate Victory Committee," Mr. Mandel being the Koch-backed Republican candidate for U.S. Senate from Ohio, running against the incumbent Democratic U.S. Senator, Ohio's Sherrod Brown, who is perhaps the most progressive member of the U.S. Senate, and who is certainly the most powerful progressive Senator, because he heads the Senate Banking Committee. Dworman also made many multi-thousand-dollar donations to the "Scott Brown for US Senate Committee," because that Republican incumbent U.S. Senator from Massachusetts was running against Democratic challenger Elizabeth Warren, who is the fastest-rising progressive in U.S. politics and even a presidential threat to the Republican Party and to Wall Street in general. Dworman also donated many times to Romney for President Inc., and made a single $25,000 donation to Romney Victory Inc. on 31 July 2012.

Dworman is the man who is widely alleged to have run Superior Bank FSB [Federal Savings Bank] when it failed and a settlement was reached with the FDIC entailing "$460 million and other consideration," so as to be able to pay the first $100,000 of each depositor's money; anything above that was not covered. As The New York Times reported on 7 August 2001, "Mr. Dworman operated the Illinois bank from New York." However, the bank was co-owned by Dworman along with Jay Pritzker. "Mr. Pritzker and Mr. Dworman each put up half the money to buy the institution they renamed Superior in 1989 for $42 million, as part of the federal government's bailout of failed savings and loans." So: it failed yet again, this time under Dworman's management. But this wasn't the pair's first bank-mess. "In the mid-1980's, Jay Pritzker invested with Mr. Dworman in River Bank, a Manhattan savings and loan that banking regulators later threatened to seize because of what they termed mismanagement." Jay's neice, Penny Pritzker, was a board member of Superior Bank, and a member of its Audit Committee, when the bank collapsed. Also, according to the Wall Street Journal, "Ms. Pritzker served as Superior chairman [from 1991] until 1994. During that period, Superior 'embarked on a business strategy of significant growth into subprime mortgages,' which were then packaged into securities and sold to investors." So, although Dworman ran the bank, Penny Pritzker oversaw his operation of it, and the two of them agreed on what type of bank it should be, and what business model it should pursue: soliciting sub-prime mortgages from unwitting poor people to be then packaged and sold off to unwitting rich people.

On 19 May 2013, Daily Kos headlined "Penny Pritzker as an Example of the Criminality of Our Elites," and "NBBooks" reported there that, "President Obama is nominating his top fund raiser, Penny Pritzker, to be Secretary of Commerce. Incredibly - perhaps I should write, sadly - the announcement is causing hardly a stir among the liberal and progressive blogosphere. At the very least, Greg Palast's May 4, 2013 post at Smirking Chimp, 'Billionaire Bankster Breaks into Obama's Cabinet,' should be going viral." NBBooks quoted extensively from "Gus Russo's 2006 tome Supermob: How Sidney Korshak and His Criminal Associates Became America's Hidden Power Brokers." The gist of this was that Jay Pritzker got the money from the Mafia to buy Hyatt. As NBBooks summarized: "The origins of the Pritzker family fortune was [sic: 'were'] her grandfather's mob connections when he was a tax attorney for a lot of people in 'The Outfit,' the Chicago mob, beginning under Al Capone, and continuing through the 1980s. This connection to organized crime was reportedly what financed the creation of Hyatt Hotels by Penny's father." Supposedly, one Frank Buccieri happened to be the president of a company called "Frontier Finance," loan-sharks. However, Buccieri only provided the "juice": He murdered the people who couldn't pay back their loans. Jay Pritzker, the mob's tax-attorney, "controlled Frontier Finance." And, supposedly, this was how he and his friend Alvin Dworman came to buy a failed S&L and rename it Superior Bank FSB, and how Penny and Alvin ended up running it as the prototype for the type of operations that JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, CitiGroup, Wells Fargo, and Goldman Sachs, later copied.

Subsequently, on 21 February 2011, the San Francisco Bay Citizen headlined "City Is Now Offering Social Media Giant a Tax Freeze to Move into Historic SF Mart Building," and reported that, "Alvin Dworman, the owner of a Market Street building proposed as the new headquarters for Twitter, gave sharply discounted office space in the same building to former Mayor Gavin Newsom's campaign for lieutenant governor." This wasn't Dworman's only involvement with Democrats (besides Penny Pritzker); city-data.com reports his "1989 / 1990Contributions Part 8" as including "$1000 to CRANSTON FOR SENATE '92 INC," where others donating the same amount to Alan Cranston's campaign included Robert E. Rubin, Roger C. Altman, and David Rockefeller - other banksters.

At the top, it's like an extended family, like any criminal organization actually, riven by disagreements, but united in their greed and psychopathy. It's a sort of club, but not all members of it are always friends of each other: they squabble with one-another. However, they are united in their joint effort to undermine democracy and to replace it with their own plutocratic if not kleptocratic rule.

So, that's how Senator Cruz's biggest individual contributor (and a major contributor to the Presidential campaign of Mitt Romney) was a family friend and business-partner of President Obama's U.S. Secretary of Commerce.

Senator Cruz's financial backers can virtually all be traced back to a network that was created by the Koch brothers. The two top contributors to Senator Cruz - the Club for Growth and the Senate Conservatives Fund - were both started by people who had been hired and promoted by the "charitable," "nonprofit" tax-exempt firms that had been founded, and that are controlled, by David and Charles Koch: two people who have turned lobbying and propaganda into tax-write-offs, so that you end up paying the taxes that they don't, for a government that does their bidding, even when (as with the shutdown) the opinion polls show that the public don't want the government to do that.

Welcome to post-Citizens-United U.S.A. The Republican Supreme Court has given the Kochs what they wanted; and now we are living with it - a government by a tiny elite, in which everybody knows everybody, delivering yet more privileges to themselves, while they strip the rights of everybody else, and call this the U.S.A. that the nation's Founders wanted, when those Founders actually went to war against and defeated Britain's aristocrats in a Revolution that has now been turned on its head.

----------

Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of They're Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of CHRIST'S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.