Yeah, sure, just a bunch of little guys helping out:
"I feel like sometimes I'm living a reality TV version of Atlas Shrugged," Tillis quipped during the confirmation hearing for Jay Clayton, Trump’s nominee for chairing the Securities and Exchange Commission. "There are a lot of people in this Congress that want to beat down job creators and employers. People want to demonize Goldman Sachs. That’s an easy thing to do, right? Just beat up on a financial services institution. An institution that’s committed to, let me look at the general numbers here ― they have 36,500 employees. There’s probably a lot of little guys in there. They’ve contributed billions of dollars to nonprofits.”
In order to understand why Tillis would put on such a show, you need to understand the man himself. He didn't dream of becoming a powerful elected official, that's just one of the steps in his Plan B. He really wanted (and still wants) to become a high-roller in the investment, banking, and finance realm. When he tried it before he realized he just didn't have the money or fame to pull it off. You need one or the other to sucker people into giving you their accumulated wealth to play with, and Tillis is almost there right now. And I doubt he has the patience to wait another six years to cash in, so 2020 is the launch date. Take a look at the dude he's cheering on for SEC Chairman:
"It's hard to see," Brown said, "how an attorney who's spent his career helping Wall Street beat the rap will keep President-elect Trump's promise to stop big banks and hedge funds from 'getting away with murder.'"
Most of the consternation over Clayton's appointment has to do with his own background as a longtime defender of big banks. He's been involved in some infamously shadowy episodes in the post-crisis era, with two in particular standing out.
He represented Goldman Sachs when the firm received a $5 billion capital infusion from Warren Buffet during the September 2008 meltdown. He also represented Barclays during its malodorous acquisition of the assets of Lehman Brothers, an episode one lawyer described to me years ago as "the greatest bank robbery you never heard of."
Mergers and acquisitions is the kind of thing that makes Tillis curl up his toes in ecstasy, and he can't wait to play that game. But he's not the sharpest tool in the shed, so he'll likely end up in a different sort of Federal institution, trading cigarettes instead of stock options.