Declared lobbyists: 2 FTE
Lobby spend: €1m – €1.25m (2016)
Goldman Sachs is the T-Rex of global investment banking and financial services with a ferocious reputation for major controversy. To name just one, ahead of the 2008 subprime mortgage crisis Goldman Sachs profited from the collapse in mortgage bonds by short-selling subprime mortgage-backed securities and “betting” on a collapse in the market.
The company was then rescued as part of a massive taxpayer-funded US government bailout. How does the bank get away with it? Goldman is deeply embedded in the global political and economic elite, although its involvement in a large number of lobby initiatives and groups means that its power often remains invisible. For a long time, Goldman Sachs refused to join the Brussels lobby register and only signed up in November 2014. Their first entry, however, clearly lowballed its lobby spending despite it being a power-player with the kind of access to the institutions that other companies only dream of.
Politicians who currently work or have previously worked for Goldman include European Central Bank President Mario Draghi; current Governor of the Bank of England Mark Carney; Italy’s former prime minister Mario Monti; current Commissioner Carlos Moedas and former Commission President Romano Prodi. More recently, José Manuel Barroso, who led the Commission from 2004-14, came under intense pressure after his appointment, in July 2016, as non- executive chairman at Goldman Sachs International.
The move catapulted the EU’s revolving door problem into the headlines. Corporate Europe Observatory believes that there should be an extension of the mandatory cooling-off period from 18 months to, at least, 5 years for former Commission Presidents (and at least 3 years for Commissioners) regarding direct and indirect lobbying activities, as well as other roles which could represent a conflict of interest.