According to top Democratic Party sources, some with long years of political experience at the national level and in the highest levels of government, there is one adviser to President Obama who has his ear even more than chief of staff Rahm Emanuel. That man is Richard Parsons, a graduate of the University of Hawaii and the chairman of Citigroup. Until 2007, Parsons also served as chief executive officer of media giant Time Warner.
Parsons has strong ties to Republicans. He also has some serious personal baggage. The New York Daily News reported last year that Parsons, the married father of three, had fathered a child out of wedlock with a model-philanthropist named MacDella Cooper.
All of that, however, has not kept Parsons from having major influence with Obama. Reports Madsen:
In 1991, Nelson Rockefeller's brother, Laurance Rockefeller, recommended that Parsons be appointed to the board of Time Warner. In 2001, Parsons became chief executive officer of AOL Time Warner, after the merger with the Internet firm.
Parsons served as co-chair of President George W. Bush's commission on Social Security reform. He also works closely with David Rockefeller and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Parsons also served on an economic advisory team under President Obama.
Part of the reason why Obama was not critically treated by the media was the fact that Parsons exercised control over a vast array of the corporate media, including CNN, Time magazine, Money, People, and Fortune magazines, and, at the time, AOL.
Parsons even is friends with Karl Rove. And that apparently has helped influence the Obama administration's approach to justice issues:
But more importantly, Parsons, according to Democratic Party sources, has ensured that Obama maintains his policy of looking forward and not back. Parsons, who is a friend of former Bush policy adviser Karl Rove, has convinced Obama that there should be no criminal investigations by the Justice Department of Rove or other top Bush administration officials from everything from political prosecutions of former Alabama Democratic Governor Don Siegelman and Rove's involvement in election fraud to the CIA's rendition and torture programs. Parsons was a member of an economic advisory team that met with President-elect Obama just two days after he was elected President in 2008.
What kind of judgment does Richard Parsons possess? Questionable appears to be the best answer. He brought in longtime Washington insider Richard Hohlt at Citigroup. Here is how The New York Times described that move:
Critics say that as a top lobbyist for the savings and loan industry in the 1980s, Mr. Hohlt blocked regulation of these institutions and played a pivotal role helping to prolong dubious industry practices that cost taxpayers $150 billion to clean up.
Want to know more about Richard Hohlt and his connections? Consider this from one blog that has focused on the banking bailout:
Richard Hohlt was recently hired by Citi chairman Richard Parsons as a ”consultant”. Hohlt is a former aide to Richard Lugar. His roster of clients has included, among others, JPMorgan, Washington Mutual, TimeWarner, Philip Morris, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Chevron, and the Nuclear Energy Institute. He’s a close associate of Karl Rove and collaborated with Robert Novak in outing Valerie Plame. He was a George Bush “Super Ranger” bagman.
William Black [a banking regulator] called him “infamous” and his hiring “obscene”.
Parsons' influence might soon be felt directly here in Alabama. Reports Madsen:
WMR was told that Parsons represents the interests of the Rockefeller family and the Council on Foreign Relations in his meetings with Obama, described as one-way communications that ensure that Obama is carrying out the wishes of the Rockefellers and their business friends. One of those demands may play out soon in Alabama, where Parsons and fellow African-American, Democratic Alabama Representative Artur Davis, has reportedly prevailed upon Obama and his Attorney General, Eric Holder, to appoint Montgomery attorney George Beck to replace U.S. Attorney Leura Canary as U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Alabama. Canary as part of the Rove operation that targeted Siegelman for prosecution. Beck, who is associated, according to our Alabama political sources, with Alabama Republican Governor Bob Riley, would continue the prosecution of Siegelman and ensure that there is no federal criminal investigation of Rove's past illegal political activities in the state's elections. In addition, Beck was also the attorney for Nick Bailey, one of the chief witnesses against Siegelman. Beck permitted federal investigators to question Bailey some 70 times and he raised no objections to the questioning being conducted in a purely civilian matter at Maxwell Air Force Base, a military compound outside of Montgomery.
What does all of this mean? It means Richard Parsons, who apparently can't even run his own personal life, has a frightening amount of influence on issues of national importance. It means Richard Parsons has been the dispenser of some horrible advice. It means Richard Parsons has been responsible for the biggest mistakes Obama has made as president. And if Democrats take a thumping in November, and Obama goes down in flames after one term, Richard Parsons is the man we can thank for it.
President Obama has not sought advice from us here at Legal Schnauzer, but we will give it anyway: Get Richard Parsons out of your inner circle--now!