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April 21st, 2010
05:00 PM ET

Should Pres. Obama return $1 million from Goldman Sachs?

ALT TEXT

Goldman Sachs was charged with fraud by the Securities and Exchange Commission over its marketing of a subprime mortgage product, sending its stock price sharply lower. (PHOTO CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Wall Street may be enemy number one for President Obama and the Democrats these days; but things get complicated when you look at how corporate America has lined their pockets.

Let's start at the top - the president received nearly $1 million in campaign contributions from Goldman Sachs. That would be the same Goldman Sachs that the government is now accusing of civil fraud tied to those subprime mortgage investments.

Federal law prohibits a company from giving directly to an election campaign; so this money came from Goldman's political action committee and employees. The $1 million represents the president's second largest contributor... and these donations from Wall Street's top investment bank to Mr. Obama were more than four times what they gave to John McCain.

But in light of these allegations against Goldman - and as Mr. Obama and the Democrats push hard for financial reform - maybe the president should consider returning this money. As a candidate, Barack Obama made lots of lofty promises about not being beholden to special interests. here's a chance to prove he meant them.

Of course - it's not just the president. Records show in the 2008 election, three out of every four dollars given by Goldman went to Democrats. And since then? The company has contributed generously to the members of the congressional committees that have oversight of the financial industry. Sadly it's the way the game is played.

The big corporations in this country own our government - lock, stock and barrel. Our so-called representatives sell their souls for campaign contributions... and when it comes time to pick a side, the corporations or the people they are elected to represent, guess which side they most often choose.

Here’s my question to you: Should Pres. Obama return the nearly $1 million in campaign contributions from Goldman Sachs?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

Simon in Orlando writes:
You bet. I guess the "change we can believe in" went into his pocket. How can we believe that he will support any meaningful changes on Wall Street when he has taken that much money from just one company? How much did he get from the others?

Tom in Arlington, Virginia writes:
Goldman Sachs and their employees are free to give their money to whatever political candidates they want, and maybe they gave to President Obama's campaign because they wanted to have some sway in his administration. The recent fraud investigation into their practices has made one thing clear: they don't.

Maria in Brunswick, Maryland writes:
No, he shouldn't. He should put the money toward the national debt. That would make Goldman Sachs weep like babies. Or Obama should give it to a specified list of non-profits, or apply it to greening the government buildings and vehicle fleets. But nothing should go back to Goldman Sachs.

Brandon in Colorado writes:
Is this really a conflict of interest? Obama received $1 million in campaign funds from Goldman, but how much did he receive from other sources? A million dollars isn't exactly a game changer in the United States economy today.

John in San Antonio writes:
He should, but don't look for the CEO of the U.S. Government, Inc. to do anything to upset its parent corporations.

Travis in San Diego writes:
I am stunned on a daily basis that any individual in this country thinks that they are being represented by the "elected officials" at any level of government. These people take money from anyone only to get elected and hold onto their power. I am ashamed at the masses for being so gullible.

Joe in Minneapolis writes:
If Obama isn't a hypocrite, he will return the money. If Obama is a hypocrite and keeps the money, what did it buy?

soundoff (203 Responses)
  1. Lou from North Carolina

    No.. They agreed with me. They didn't want McCain who is more ready to go to war than Bush. What is a million in this day and time. He should return it when everyone other politician who took money from big corporations return their money. Washington is totally polluted with money and what they have to give back for it. Just hope we can survive it.

    April 21, 2010 at 12:50 pm |
  2. Stephanie, Vancouver, BC

    Jack, these contributions were made by employees of Goldman Sachs? Are you saying that any employee of a large corporation not be allowed to contribute to a campaign? Why are you not asking that ALL members of Congress return all contributions from all companies involved in Wall Street?

    Why not a question about a republican for a change? Like Rubio being investigated or McConnell's blatent lies and ties to banks??

    April 21, 2010 at 12:51 pm |
  3. Kevin of San Diego

    Yes, Then he should handcuff all of their executives and make them suffer until the economy recovers from what they created!

    April 21, 2010 at 12:53 pm |
  4. Loren

    Why should the President return the campaign contributions? Because the government is now suing Goldman and Goldman may not have gotten fair value for its money? Because it makes it appear that the President is too close to Goldman? Why, Jack, you might as well call for campaign reform (and while you're at it, you might want t ask why should corporations, unions and other representative groups, which can't vote in elections, be permitted to influence elections by campaign contributions and other messages that can influence voters).

    April 21, 2010 at 12:54 pm |
  5. Tony from Southport

    Why should he? They tried to buy him and he's going after them. That's Washington politics for ya' But really Jack..... does anyone retuirn bribes... I mean contributions?

    April 21, 2010 at 12:54 pm |
  6. Terrence Cain

    Yes he should. He needs to shed the lobbyists from his cabinet and take down the corrupt businesses that nearly caused the second great depression.

    Terrence Cain
    Big Spring, TX.

    April 21, 2010 at 12:56 pm |
  7. D. Tree

    No, this is misleading because its not the like firm itself gave to Obama – people who *work* there did. They are not necessarily the people who committed any crime! Now, if it turns out the VP who did commit the crime gave to Obama, that would be another story – otherwise these donations are perfectly legit within the framework of our current campaign finance laws.

    April 21, 2010 at 1:00 pm |
  8. Hugo Kijne

    Absolutely. Next to health care reform re-regulating the financial industry will be a cornerstone of Obama's policies in 2010, and he can only do that effectively if he eliminates all possible conflicts of interest. Especially now that the Republicans are beginning to realize that they cannot obstruct finance reform without paying a prize, Obama has to make his own position as strong as possible. Plus, he earned more than enough with his books in 2009 to pay back Goldman Sachs.

    Hoboken, NJ

    April 21, 2010 at 1:04 pm |
  9. Adam Simi Valley, CA

    Of course not. It was all done legally under the ridiculous rules that Congress has made. What good does it do to give away huge chunks of other people's money if you don't get to profit from it? It's all a huge scam and we are footing the bill.

    April 21, 2010 at 1:12 pm |
  10. Sue

    Only if the Republicans who are paid for by the business and banking industries return all of their campaign contributions. Otherwise, no! The contributions were perfectly legal as evidenced by the right leaning Robert's Court recent decision that business entities are citizens and have the same right make political contributions and influence the outcome of elections. Rightwingers can't have it both ways!

    Sue
    Jefferson City, MO

    April 21, 2010 at 1:14 pm |
  11. Tom in Abilene Tx.

    Yes.I am certain many in Congress should, too.We ordinary folk will never be able to "grease the palms" of politicians the way lobbyists can. Big Business will always hold the power so long as the bribees(aka our legislators) refuse to initiate meaningful reform.

    April 21, 2010 at 1:15 pm |
  12. Dave, Brooklyn, NY

    Can you spell C-O-N-F-L-I-C-T—O-F—I-N-T-E-R-E-S-T ? Since none of the other “changes we can believe in” have happened, why should this? I guess even the radical change we made in 2008 can’t change or reform the rat hole known as Washington D.C. It’s enough to make me want to wear a hat with tea bags hanging from the brim. It’s not nearly as ridiculous as allowing the banks and big business to get away not only with out paying taxes, but getting bailouts from me no matter how much money they made or stole.

    Why do I have to pay taxes on offshore income and big business doesn’t? Why to I have to pay taxes on all my losses in excess of $3,000 and big business gets money back -- from me!!! ? I’m just too mad to blog…

    April 21, 2010 at 1:27 pm |
  13. Rich

    It's a good question Jack but; it also begs the question... should Obama have taken the million to begin with?
    I cant help but think of all "the littile people" who donated hard earned money. How much "influence" did they buy?

    Rich
    Mattawan Mi.

    April 21, 2010 at 1:37 pm |
  14. steve in florida

    You bet. And every other politician in Washington should do the same. And lets fire the hundreds and hundreds of ex-GS employees that have infiltrated our government. Or maybe we should fire everyone in DC, shut everything down and let the teabaggers dressed in the Founding Fathers Halloween costumes start everything all over. Apparently, they're the only "real" Americans left. That's only 250 years worth of do overs. This is all getting completely absurd, Jack. And don't forget your passport if you're heading to Phoenix.
    I changed my answer. No.

    April 21, 2010 at 1:39 pm |
  15. Eric - Houston

    No, the real issue was accepting it in the first place. The only purpose of returning it now would be to try to deflect criticism for having taken it and that would be disingenuous.

    April 21, 2010 at 1:40 pm |
  16. Chad Nielsen

    I am writing from Fresno California. Now that you know where I am writing from I will tell you what I think. Corporations were not, and are not protected or represented in our nations constitution. They have no right to even participate in the elections, a corporation cannot vote as a corporation. That being said, of course he should return the money. Beyond that it should be made illegal for any corporate entity to make political donations. Corpoarations should be subject to the will of the people, not the other way around. As an individual I cannot, even if I were allowed to, begin to donate the millions to the political machines that corporations can and do make. In the end this means my voice is not equally heard when set on par with a corporations abilities. The only way to get our government to work for us, the people, is to remove big money players from the system. This includes returning those donations and making illegal for those types of donations to continue.

    April 21, 2010 at 1:41 pm |
  17. BEVERLY-Mystic,Iowa

    No they gave it willingly. It wasn't a loan. Of course they're angry, because they were hoping that he wouldn't put the regulations back in place. They should have known from all he said while campaigning, that he was determined to straighten out the Bush mess; that can't be guaranteed without regulatory reform.

    We're very grateful to Goldman Sachs for helping us elect such a fine man.

    April 21, 2010 at 1:45 pm |
  18. BEVERLY-Mystic,Iowa

    No. They shouldn't be helped in any way. Contributions are non-refundable, but they ARE tax-deductable.

    April 21, 2010 at 1:53 pm |
  19. Jayne

    What's the point? They also donated to McCain and races for the House and Senate. If all the money gets sent back, the big shots will probably divide it up or put it towards fueling the corporate jets and nothing will come of it anyway.

    April 21, 2010 at 1:58 pm |
  20. Ryan, CT

    Keeping that money would be a campaign nightmare for him in 2012!

    April 21, 2010 at 1:58 pm |
  21. Gary H. Boyd

    Jack, your question is SHOULD Obama give back the money. It ought to also be, WILL he give it back. I say "Yes" to the first and "No" to the second. But, this fella's just too smooth to give back a million bucks. He and his cohorts will surely gift wrap some nonsensical rationale for not doing so, pass it along to their ever adoring media followers and that'll be the end of that.

    Gary in Arizona

    April 21, 2010 at 2:07 pm |
  22. Helen

    Are you asking this question of every politicians who received money from Goldman Sachs or is your question for only the president? I donated money to candidate and I work for a big financial institution. Can the secretary, the receptionist at a firm like Goldman Sachs donate to their candidate of their choice? Is that a crime? If there is quiproquo that is another story.

    April 21, 2010 at 2:09 pm |
  23. IKHAN san jose ca

    Hi Jack,
    tightening the screws on these glorified crooks would be more appropriate. Instead of walking away with millions in bonuses every year the big wigs better be made answerable to swmall investors.

    April 21, 2010 at 2:12 pm |
  24. GWTRIPP, MECHS'BURG, PA

    He absolutly should return the money. As President, it is his job to be the ultimate example of prudence and respect for our children, not to mention his own. It will be a true measure of the man to see what he does.

    April 21, 2010 at 2:13 pm |
  25. Bud Rupert

    NO sir. One has nothing to do with the other. And I'm not taking sides with Goldman either.

    First Jack nothings been proven from a pure legal point of view that Goldman broke any laws and it may be that the SEC is chasing a loosing proposition. Morally and ehically that's another matter but politics being what it is and always has been it's just more noise.

    keep the money

    April 21, 2010 at 2:20 pm |
  26. pat in michigan

    yes . they will expect it back if he goes back on his word to protect them from regulation.

    April 21, 2010 at 2:27 pm |
  27. MNResident

    Come on, Jack. Glodman Sachs paid good money for this President, and it's now time for the pay back. The modern definition of "financial reform" is that companies like Goldman that are "too big to fail" get bailouts, and the American taxpayer gets stuck with the bill. Just grab your wallets and fork it over, NOW, and this administration will make sure no one gets hurt.....

    April 21, 2010 at 2:28 pm |
  28. Rick Bavera, Indiana, PA

    How about if he turns the money over to the government to go toward reducing the debt (a tiny drop in the bucket, I know), then encourage the Justice Department to pursue all legal means to take the bums to court for their wrongdoing....fines and court costs. A good place to start to get things in the direction of "fairness."

    April 21, 2010 at 2:32 pm |
  29. Remo, from beautiful downtown Pflugervile Texas

    OH the irony!!! Of course he should. Either that or he's already been bought.

    April 21, 2010 at 2:34 pm |
  30. Russ in PA

    Why don't they all return their contributions, and start acting like principled citizens?

    April 21, 2010 at 2:38 pm |
  31. Meg from Troy, Ohio

    Jack–
    Your question is incomplete. Should all Congressmen and the President return their donations from Goldman Sachs? would be correct if you're being fair about what you're asking. I'm sure President Obama isn't the only politician who took donations from this bank. And the answer to the fair question is that I don't really know. And I'm not sure that it makes any difference in the overall scheme of things.

    April 21, 2010 at 2:40 pm |
  32. Smith in Oregon

    Of course President Obama should keep the Goldman Sach's bribe, as hundreds of Republican lawmakers already decided to do. Why don't you think NONE of these Goldman Sach's managers are serving long federal prison sentences?

    April 21, 2010 at 2:42 pm |
  33. Mendemoi

    No! Not At All. Not until the Corporate Supreme Court Justices reverse themselves. Why should he give back when the Corporate Supreme Court Justices have made it easy and given the green light to Goldman Sachs and other Corporations to influence and control the outcome of our election? At least he doesn't seem to be benefitting from taking the actions he is now embarked on taking against Goldman Sachs the way the Republicans are waiting and expecting to benefit from their Corporations. That's why they have already started blocking the Wall Street reform legislation.

    April 21, 2010 at 2:42 pm |
  34. Minesh -Troy, MI

    Not only should President Obama return the money but he should be willing to admit (if it is true) that he received more money from Wall Street firms than John McCain, his Republican opponent.

    This will end the Democrats' talking points once and for all that Republicans are in bed with Wall Street.

    Minesh, Troy, MI

    April 21, 2010 at 2:49 pm |
  35. Richard Oak Harbor, Wa

    The President and all Congressional beneficiaries of Goldman Sachs generous campaign contributions are not morally beholding to the financial giant but are responsible for the economic security of all Americans. There should be a thorough investigation to pinpoint the departmental source of decisions which led to the unethical manipulation and discrimination against a specific group of Goldman Sachs investors.

    April 21, 2010 at 2:49 pm |
  36. James

    Jack,

    The question is a bit misleading. G-S contributions didn't directly come from the company, but rather its members and its PAC. I think any PAC money should be given back as that money was likely controlled in osme part by the Board of Directors for G-S. Individual contributions should be returned to the extent they came from the CDO department of GS.

    I believe the money from GS even includes money from family of GS employees. Would like to see CNN do some reporting on this 1 million.

    Thanks Jack

    April 21, 2010 at 2:51 pm |
  37. Simon-Orlando

    You bet. I guess the "change we can believe in" went into his pocket. How could we believe that he will support any meaningful changes on Wall Street when he has taken that much money from just one company? How much did he get from the others?

    April 21, 2010 at 2:51 pm |
  38. Joe Hanson

    If Obama isn't a hypocrite, he will return the money.

    If Obama is a hypocrite and keeps the money, what did it buy?

    Joe Hanson
    Minneapolis, MN

    April 21, 2010 at 2:52 pm |
  39. Ed from MD

    As what, a cherry on top of the billions he already gave them or let them steal. No, the damage is done, Obama is already president and giving the money back won't change that. He will have to stick it out with the rest of us.

    April 21, 2010 at 3:03 pm |
  40. Mark... Voorhees, New Jersey

    Yes, Jack, and each and every congressman and senator should return every contribution from each and every corporation as well. Then they would have incentive to serve the people, instead of serving them up,

    April 21, 2010 at 3:03 pm |
  41. Amber - Austin, TX

    Yes. And now that it is brought to his attention, I'm certain he will.

    April 21, 2010 at 3:04 pm |
  42. Sandra in Temecula, CA

    Should he...yes. Will he.....that remains to be seen. Just goes to show how hypocritcal politicians really are.........even Obama, who promised to be a different kind of president.

    April 21, 2010 at 3:04 pm |
  43. Russ in Johnston

    Why? Should O take it that campaign contributions are meant as a pay-off for past or future corporate behavior?

    April 21, 2010 at 3:06 pm |
  44. Bizz Quarryville, Pennsylvania

    One million dollars is chump change to Goldman Sachs. I think President Obama should return the money along with all the donations big business and high paid lobbyist put in every politicians pocket while roaming the halls of the Congress. You cannot tell me that all of this money donated to campaigns doesn't influence how Washington does business. I mean some of these guys don't even pay taxes. Now how do you suppose that came about? It came about from campaign donations and lobbyist who meet with members of Congress on a daily basis. To me it's the same thing as jury tampering. The only differences is it is legal.

    April 21, 2010 at 3:07 pm |
  45. Joe CE

    Yes. Xampaigb contributions from Corporate intrests should be banned, The Supreme Court decison was a BIG STEP IN THE WRONG DIRECTION. To attribute rights intended for individuals to an artifical entity like a Coproration is incredible. By this line of thinking, Corporations should pay taxes the same as individuals.

    April 21, 2010 at 3:08 pm |
  46. tom Trapani, Quito, EC

    It's not necessary. Mr Obama and all others who accepted contributions need not feel beholden to contributors their ethics and conscience should be their guide.

    April 21, 2010 at 3:18 pm |
  47. Mike North Port, FL

    Jack, if Obama doesn't return that money I guess it means that "Hope and change", is now "Hype and same."

    April 21, 2010 at 3:18 pm |
  48. Kim Smith, Dodge City, Kansas

    Only selfish person would have a hard time making that decision.

    April 21, 2010 at 3:19 pm |
  49. Carl

    Jack,
    He should give it to all of us tax payers.

    April 21, 2010 at 3:21 pm |
  50. Michael Alexandria, VA

    Funds should go to party central committees or to a national fund to be distributed equally to all viable candidates during the primary and general election phases. Money should be speech, but not voting.

    April 21, 2010 at 3:23 pm |
  51. Linda in Charleston, SC

    Nope Obama should not return 1 million to Goldman Sachs, but he should see to it that this outragious nonsense within our financial systems stops pronto Jack. The 1 million was not bribe money, was it? If Obama did return it I'd say it was bribe money for doing a deed. Campaign reform needs to happen in any event, the funds are being misused as we all know. I would like to see it going back into the national debt in some form, social security would be a good place to put it. Campaign funds should be handled like non-profits and should be accounted for and audited as income taxes are.

    April 21, 2010 at 3:25 pm |
  52. Chryssa

    So what? All this shows is that Goldman Sachs and friends knew stronger regulation and oversight was needed, and they contributed to elect the people who will make it happen. They can't control themselves so they chose Democrats to do it for them.

    Boise, ID

    April 21, 2010 at 3:25 pm |
  53. Judy H.

    Yes, Obama should return the $1 million in campaign contributions from Goldman Sachs.

    Houston, TX

    April 21, 2010 at 3:26 pm |
  54. Donna in Tulsa Okla.

    Our Congress alone can pass lobby reform.However. since they are the major beneficiaries of corporate largesse (bribery), they will never vote to interfere with that cash cow.Talk about Catch-22.

    April 21, 2010 at 3:29 pm |
  55. Jerry Jacksonville, Fl.

    Yes he should, what is good for the goose is good for the gander, just another example of why we need to outlaw all lobbyist

    April 21, 2010 at 3:38 pm |
  56. david doherty

    Should he, absolutely, will he, no. Remember this is the guy who promised transparency, remember that lie. The only good thing that I can say about our lustrous president is, he's better than the dingle berry he replaced, not very hard to top that act. When a politician take corporate donations from financial giant like goldman sachs, you can bet that his interests are not going too be (for the good of the people). It almost makes me gag when I connect that phrase with our president.
    Dave from NH.

    April 21, 2010 at 3:38 pm |
  57. southerncousin

    Of course he should, will he? You know even after the SEC drops the charges they brought against them (or the jury acquits them) he will not admit he was wrong or using them for slimy, corrupt political purposes. It is the way of life for the slimy annointed one.

    April 21, 2010 at 3:40 pm |
  58. Dean D.Ellis

    No that would not be wise. I'd rather not give them the money back to be used for bonuses. If imposing the strictest financial reform in decades is a "BEHOLDEN" type of reaction, then let the money pour.

    Dean D. Ellis, Palm Springs, FL (not Palm Beach!)

    April 21, 2010 at 3:42 pm |
  59. Larraine, Abingdon, MD

    I wouldn't return it at all. It would be the ultimate kick in the face to Goldman Sachs to take their money and regulate them. I would like it if Republicans did the exact same thing to these weasels.

    April 21, 2010 at 3:47 pm |
  60. Heather from Indiana

    No, would you? Maybe if he were a super rich. Obama just paid off his and Michelle's student loans last year and he already donates his Presidential salary to charity. Goldman Sachs apparently doesn't need anymore money anyway, they just gave out over 5 BILLION in bonuses for three months of "work" to emlpoyees.

    April 21, 2010 at 3:47 pm |
  61. Jim Z..Ft. Worth...Texas

    Jack, how ridiculous to assimilate blame toward president for campaign contributions that were made legally and above board. You off base..off color...and off my Christmas list at the moment for your insinuations and incitations..

    April 21, 2010 at 3:54 pm |
  62. Mel - Rancho Mirage, California

    I would not give them any money whatsoever. It would be more money for their executive compensation. It is better for Obama to give a message to all campaign contributors that says, "Thank you for your contribution but if you get unethical I will take action against you regardless of your contrubution to my campaign." Maybe than they will learn not to expect favors.

    April 21, 2010 at 3:55 pm |
  63. Terry, Chandler AZ

    Yes indeed Jack. And while the president is in a return mode, perhaps he should return all money given to his election fund. Those of us who provided dollars to his campaign fund have not received what we paid for. Its time for our refund.

    April 21, 2010 at 3:56 pm |
  64. John from Alabama

    Jack: I believe that when every member of Congress now serving gives the money they received from Goldman-Sachs back, then President Obama should give his contribution from Goldman-Sachs back. Goldman-Sachs is guilty of fixing the investment game for others to win and the rest of us to lose. I believe Golman-Sachs CEO, and Borad of Directors should pay heavy fines and spend tine in jail. Goldman-Sachs job was to be an honest quality control mechanism that went bad during the Bush Administration of no SEC oversite.

    April 21, 2010 at 3:56 pm |
  65. Jackson from Rome, GA

    Why should Obama return it? It would just go toward somebody's "bonus". Besides, Goldman Sachs has been charged with fraud by the SEC, showing that at least some of the government may not be as bought and paid for as we might think. I remain cautiously optimistic.

    April 21, 2010 at 3:59 pm |
  66. Charles of Eugene

    YES! Obama should return the Goldman donation, with a flourish
    and dynamic speech re campaign finance reform.

    April 21, 2010 at 4:00 pm |
  67. Sue From Idaho

    Not unless all the politicians give back too. What a farce our government has become. If our founding fathers weren't dead they would wish they were.

    April 21, 2010 at 4:02 pm |
  68. Donna Wisconsin

    Well campaign contributions should be just that: a contribution. I know when I contribute my dollar I have no expectations of reaping a reward. The same goes for Goldman Saks. The contribution doesn't have strings attached so the Pres can keep the money. That way no one can say he lets big contributions make his decisions for him.

    April 21, 2010 at 4:02 pm |
  69. Lance, Ridgecrest, Ca

    Jack, of course he should, however, he won't. He just said this morning that he has received "millions from lots of contributors" and saw no reason to return the "fraud stained (my words)" money from Goldman. Typical politician, I got the money, the contributors may be corrupt, but the money is clean-–HUH????? You can bet that none of the other politicians will return their "clean" money either! OH, I forgot, one REPUBLICAN has already sent his contributions back, how about that?

    April 21, 2010 at 4:05 pm |
  70. Paul P., Canada

    Absolutely not. At the time he received the money there were no charges against Goldman Sachs. There shouldn't conditions or guarantees attached to contributions given, thats why politics is so fundamentally flawed now. Obama should keep the money and let the SEC go whole hog on Goldman Sachs and push his financial reform through whether its watered down or not.

    April 21, 2010 at 4:05 pm |
  71. Paul New Port Richey Fl

    President Obama will keep the money. Goldman Sachs has served it's useful idiot role and will not see a refund.

    April 21, 2010 at 4:06 pm |
  72. Angie

    Was the money directly from the CEO's of Goldman and Sachs, or was it from the employees (secritaries, telephone operators, customer service, file clerks, janitors, book keeping employees, computer IT programming, etc) the employees who made between 25,000 to 100,000 a year)?

    If it was directly from the top executives who make the decisions of Goldman and Sachs, I say 'give it back'.

    But if it was from all those lower paid employees who never committed any of the companies criminal activites I say, 'Why?'

    I seem to remember that during the campaign CNN did report, Obama's contributors were the lower paid employees of many major corporations, and not directly from the major corporation's top executives at all.

    April 21, 2010 at 4:06 pm |
  73. Michael H. in Albuquerque, NM

    Will he give back Geithner too?

    April 21, 2010 at 4:12 pm |
  74. Travis

    I am stunned on a daily basis that any individual in this country thinks that they are being represented by the "elected officials" at any level of government. These people take money from anyone only to get elected and hold on to their power. I am ashamed at the masses for being so gulible.

    Travis
    San Diego

    April 21, 2010 at 4:19 pm |
  75. Ray in Nashville

    What a year, Jack. Senator McConnell met with a lobbyist for the banking industry who told him to fight any financial reform and even told him what to say to do so. President Obama is fighting for financial reform, but took campaign contributions from Goldman-Sachs. Our Supreme Court recently said it was ok for big corporations to buy politicians. Man are we screwed!

    April 21, 2010 at 4:19 pm |
  76. Maria

    No, he shouldn't. He should put the money toward the national debt. That would make GS weep like babies. Or Obama should give it to a specified list of non-profits, or apply it to greening the government buildings and vehicle fleets. But nothing should go back to GS.

    Maria
    Brunswick,MD

    April 21, 2010 at 4:20 pm |
  77. Lori - PA

    Jack,

    Yes he should, but I doubt he will. There are so many things the our elected officals should do, but won't. They won't set term limits for themselves even though term limits were set for the President of the United States. They won't own up when they are in the wrong and have been caught red handed. They won't put the American people before themselves and their corporate freinds.

    April 21, 2010 at 4:21 pm |
  78. Bob Tampa Fl

    The fact that Obama got $1 million from GS and the SEC is suing them for fraud, kind of shows he is not beholding to special interests, doesn't it?

    April 21, 2010 at 4:22 pm |
  79. Cathy

    I'm watching what the President does these days, not what he says. His actions speak more loudly than his smooth delivery at the podium.I am hopeful he returns the money as that would represent a higher level of integrity to the American voters.
    Cathy, San Antonio, TX

    April 21, 2010 at 4:23 pm |
  80. Mark, Oklahoma City

    No, he should donate the money evenly among the homeless is Washington D.C. They will put it to much better use.

    April 21, 2010 at 4:23 pm |
  81. Cary Wendt

    Why should Democrats return campaign contributions Jack? It's not like they were aware of the inner dealings and complex transactions within Goldman Sachs. I don't see the connection.

    Republicans also received large sums from Goldman Sachs.

    Republicans would be more than desperate if they try to use this for any political gain.

    Washington should stop playing the "Blame Game" and work for the American people. Democrats are on the right track so far and have achieved a lot these past 12 months. The economy is rebounding, the new health care bill is in place and now they are working on financial reform that we most desperately need and that the Republicans are trying to BLOCK once again. Those are my two cents Jack. Great show and thanks for reading.

    April 21, 2010 at 4:27 pm |
  82. Mysterious, Chicago

    Jack, you should travel over and join the Tea Party Movement!!

    April 21, 2010 at 4:28 pm |
  83. Conor in Chicago

    The way US politics has worked for the last 30 years I think it would actually be unethical for Obama to give the money back. You see, Obama provided a service to Goldman Sachs. A cool million in campaign donations is payment for services rendered. You want hard workin' Americans keepin' what they earn don't you Jack? Plus, this is the way our system works: Corporations and other economic interests hire a candidate, finance him or her, and if they win, reap the benefits of having their employee in government. This is nothing new. What should alarm people is that their "Savior", and I mean both Obama and Bush, had to play this game just to get their foot in the door. THAT'S what should worry people. Not the dollar amount.

    April 21, 2010 at 4:29 pm |
  84. marja hartzell-oforji

    He should give the money somewhere, but no to Goldman Sachs, so should mr John McCain and all the members of the congressional committees who have benefited of that kind of bribes.

    Marja from Stockholm, Sweden

    April 21, 2010 at 4:30 pm |
  85. ben stockton, calif

    most certainly i do. he can make an example that will show that he is not above the law. if he doesnt , he will suffer the ramifications that the gop send his way. he makes enough to take care of his family and then some and will continue to earn more even if he is a one term president, he can make a lot of browny point by doing so..

    April 21, 2010 at 4:30 pm |
  86. Don (Ottawa)

    Yes he should return what he got from Goldman Sachs, and all the others that accepted contributions as well. The problem is not just Goldman Sachs, that's the peak of the iceberg. Corparate donations should be outlawed – period.

    April 21, 2010 at 4:32 pm |
  87. JENNA

    Should Pres. Obama return the nearly $1 million in campaign contributions from Goldman Sachs?

    Since the right leaning Supreme Court ruled that corporations are people now, with no campaign finance limits, then why should he??

    Jenna
    Roseville CA

    April 21, 2010 at 4:32 pm |
  88. Gigi Oregon

    Yes, and let us be clear the Republicans were in office at the time and maybe they didn't receive as much but they did receive.I'm sure Republicans pockets were lined well as they began lining the pockets of the Democrats. Now let's see that returned also, in the way of fines paid directly to the "Build America Back Fund". The Republicans drained monies for eight years building wars and home land security while actually doing nothing but frightening children, foreigners and old people. I'm old enough to remember the same tactics in the fifties when many built bomb shelters and children had drills to hide under their desk while preparing for the enemy to bomb us. How much did that cost the American tax payers.

    We have been complaining about corporate America for years now. The media likes to make a big noise so what are you going to do about it OR do they own you too.

    April 21, 2010 at 4:32 pm |
  89. MikeK

    First, he's not going to do that, so the question is beyond rhetorical. But it does help to promote public awareness of where Obama got the money to finance his campaign.

    I think it's a bit too convenient that the finance and banking industries help to put a candidate in Office right before we find out just who is responsible for wrecking the economy and looting the Treasury.

    April 21, 2010 at 4:34 pm |
  90. ed in ri

    Jack;
    I'm sad to say that I supported Obama in the campaign to change" what Bush had done", with much hope and enthusiasm.
    Unfortunately, his first appointment was Rahm Emmanuel, followed by all the Wallstreet gangsters that broke the world economy. This makes me believe that "Wallstreet" was a major reason that Obama beat McCain, and they consequently own him.
    I can't wait to see the results of the Supreme court decision, enabling the world corporations to "elect" whoever they want. This is Obamas' transparency idea I guess?

    April 21, 2010 at 4:35 pm |
  91. Jack Straw

    "Federal law prohibits a company from giving directly to an election campaign"

    When Obama was running, yes, but not any more.

    Should Obama return the $1 million? No, I don't see why he should. Just because Goldman Sachs committed fraud certainly doesn't mean that their employees should get their money back. If anything they should be charged with bribery.

    April 21, 2010 at 4:36 pm |
  92. Crystal

    Jack, I don't understand how returning the money would prove that Obama is not beholden to Goldman Sachs. Surely the ACTIONS of the administration speak the loudest. It doesn't appear that Goldman Sachs got much for their contribution.

    April 21, 2010 at 4:40 pm |
  93. Tom, Avon, Me, The Heart of Democracy

    Absolutely not. That's coals to New Castle if we ever saw it. The Obama's donated the 1.4 million dollar Nobel Peace Prize to charity amongst their other contributions so they know how it's done.

    April 21, 2010 at 4:47 pm |
  94. Alex in Gig Harbor

    No, let President Obama keep the money. The corporations make their contributions, usually to both sides, and hope for the best quid pro quo. No harm in that since the Supreme Court says it's OK.

    April 21, 2010 at 4:47 pm |
  95. Steve, Clifton, VA

    Politically yes, but legally no!!

    April 21, 2010 at 4:50 pm |
  96. david sencades(seattle)

    No!, He should put it in a bank and instruct the bank execs to give entreprenurial loans to job create off noble uses of advanced technology discoveries..this is a time to prove he knows what a noble prize is for... in fact, we paid for most research and development discoveries ,we just got cheated out of their uses beczu the 2 party monopoly deemed it necessary to give to feudal venture capitalist repressing us with ignoble uses..

    April 21, 2010 at 4:53 pm |
  97. David T

    While we are concerned about the new Supreme Court decision allowing corporations to vastly increase their contributions, we should not overlook current campaign "war chests". Chuck Schumer is talking about a 29 million dollar campaign fund. Certain parts of the Democratic party are talking about a 50 million dollar campaign fund. Let's be afraid of what already exists and worry about what "might" happen later.

    April 21, 2010 at 4:54 pm |
  98. steve- virginia beach

    He should return the campaign bribes from Goldman Sachs, SEIU, and everyone else whose pockets he has lined with our money but he won't because he's just as corrupt as the rest of our politicians. But no doubt Democrats will continue to portray Republicans as the only ones who are in bed with corporate America.

    April 21, 2010 at 4:55 pm |
  99. paul schultheis

    Only if George Bush returns the $2,500.000.00 he got from MBNA (a credit card company) in 2000. Unlike the Republicans the Democrats have not shown any overt favoritism towards the banks. Within the first sixty days of his inauguration the House passed a bankruptcy reform bill as a reward to their campaign donors. This bill was specifically targeted to benefit the largest credit card companies, not the American people. Amazing as it may seem they did not tackle health care, education, energy, or the deficit. Not suprisingly these independent thinkers voted as a block (just as they still do) with not one Republican voting against this obvious pay off.

    April 21, 2010 at 4:58 pm |
  100. Paulette from Dallas,PA

    Yes. This is the type of dirty money Obama spoke against as a candidate. If he does not return it,I don't know how he can sleep at night or look at himself in the mirror.

    April 21, 2010 at 4:58 pm |
  101. Jim

    Jack,

    It's hard to see how Goldman is getting any special favors from Obama given the current suit by the SEC. They contributed to his campaign believing that his policies would be good for them. They goofed. It's not his fault. I see no need to return the contributions.

    Jim
    Reno, Nevada

    April 21, 2010 at 5:01 pm |
  102. Diane Dagenais Turbide

    I guess that one million dollar did not stop the President from passing financial reforms. I guess in a way he cannot be bought after all!

    April 21, 2010 at 5:02 pm |
  103. Ken in NC

    No Jack. AIG, Goldman, Citi Group and others ruined my economy. What an irony should he send me their contribution in the form of a stimulus check to stimulate my economy. I promise them all of it would be used to stimulate various sectors of our economy, none of which would benefit those companies.

    April 21, 2010 at 5:03 pm |
  104. Dave in S.C.

    Why would he give the money back? If so ,every member of congress should be required to refund every penny given to them by any financial institution and any pharma or health insurance company,or any other legislation that is going to come up during their term. The whole lobbying system is corrupt, or at least the potential for corruption is obvious. I believe this was one of the promises Pres. Obama made while running for office and I think it will be one he will address before his term is done.

    April 21, 2010 at 5:03 pm |
  105. Diane Dagenais Turbide

    I guess that one million dollar did not stop the President from passing financial reforms. I guess in a way he cannot be bought after all!
    Let's be rational about this because if people really want change then political party ought to be financed through public funding for each vote they get!

    April 21, 2010 at 5:05 pm |
  106. Greg in Cabot, AR

    I say he should NOT give it back.
    Keeping the money shows it was a "contribution", giving it back makes it look like an "unsuccessful bribe".

    Should every Political Action Committee get a refund if they don't get their way? If so, I want a refund of all the taxes I have ever paid because I don't like the way Congress has been doing their job.

    April 21, 2010 at 5:06 pm |
  107. steve- virginia beach

    This is one of the reasons why "too big to fail" isn't addressed in the proposed financial "reform" legislation. And won't be unless angry Americans make big enough of a stink over it. But didn't Obama promise he wouldn't do this?

    April 21, 2010 at 5:07 pm |
  108. Bill in Penna

    Jack,

    You are 100% correct. Our legislators are 100% owned. They are employees and do what they are told – give to the rich from all of the rest of us.

    How much cash did Wall Street put into McCain/Palin's campaign. Bet it was more than their investment in the democrats.

    You always pay both sides. The steaks are just too great. Why GE, Inc. got One Billion, 100 million in welfare payments from the IRS. Their pre-tax profit was 10.3 billion dollars after taxes that went U P to 11.4 Billion dollars.

    April 21, 2010 at 5:09 pm |
  109. lizzie

    seriously? goldman sachs has shown us what it does with money - why would anyone give them a million dollars? if the president feels compelled to relieve himself of the money from goldman sachs, perhaps he can donate it in goldman sachs' name and in recognition of their financial machinations to the many who have suffered because of them.

    April 21, 2010 at 5:10 pm |
  110. walter brownson

    what is good for one should enclude all. i believe that if you receive money from any corporate or 250,000 dollars. it should be taxed and sent to help the community of a poor standard.

    April 21, 2010 at 5:10 pm |
  111. Ralph Spyer

    Yes ,when Cheney gives the 348,548 Halliburton gave him in deferred compensation for 150 billion in no bid contracts in Iraq

    April 21, 2010 at 5:11 pm |
  112. Melissa

    Why? Legally, it was a gift. Gifts don't need to be returned, Jack.

    April 21, 2010 at 5:11 pm |
  113. Annie, Atlanta

    Depends on how it was presented. If he had to sell us out (i.e., put their people in his administration, give them carte blanche with no action by the DOJ), and is man enough to admit it, by all means give it back. If not, keep it, obviously, and be glad someone not a Wall Street Bankster got something from them.

    April 21, 2010 at 5:12 pm |
  114. Karl from SF, CA

    Definitely not. He said he wasn’t beholding to corporate contributors and this pretty much proves that. He has no reason to return it. On the other hand, the Congresspersons that have sold their souls for health care lies and soft pedaling Wall Street legislation should also be outted as corporate pawns. When a corporation buys a politician, they are not buying corporate respectability, they are selling it and the voters have a right to know it.

    April 21, 2010 at 5:14 pm |
  115. Brandon of Colorado

    Is this really a conflict of interest? Obama recieved 1 million in campaign funds from Goldman: how much did he recieve from other sources? A million dollars isn't exactly a game changer in the United States economy today.

    April 21, 2010 at 5:15 pm |
  116. John from San Antonio

    He should, but don't look for the CEO of the U.S. government, inc. to do anything to upset their parent corporations.

    April 21, 2010 at 5:15 pm |
  117. Eric

    My first instinct is to say yes, but I think a better idea would be for Obama to give it to homeless shelters and soup kitchens.

    April 21, 2010 at 5:15 pm |
  118. Anthony in FL

    Yes, President Obama should put his money where his mouth is and return the $1 million to Goldman Sachs donors. However, one of Obama's other backers, like George Soros will probably step in and cut him a check to cover this reimbursement.

    April 21, 2010 at 5:16 pm |
  119. Talar

    That was a great report you just gave on CNN. Yes, I think the President should return the $1 mil. and it should send a message to other politicians not to accept such amounts from special interest groups.

    April 21, 2010 at 5:16 pm |
  120. Tyler

    no, i don't think that obama should give the money back. If somebody gave you money and then they wanted it back would you give it back? even if they did not get it ethically money is money.

    April 21, 2010 at 5:16 pm |
  121. Jim Holbrook

    You bet he should give it back, and Jack you are right this government is not for the people, big business runs this government.

    April 21, 2010 at 5:16 pm |
  122. DeAndre Turner

    Personally I don't care much about Pres. Obama giving back the money to Goldman Sachs just as long as he doesn't use my tax dollars to do it.

    April 21, 2010 at 5:16 pm |
  123. Tom, Arlington, VA

    Goldman Sachs and their employees are free to give their money to whatever political candidates they want, and maybe they gave to President Obama's campaign because they wanted to have some sway in his administration. The recent fraud investigation into their practices has made one thing clear: they don't.

    April 21, 2010 at 5:16 pm |
  124. Newport Newser

    Hell no! They don't even deserve to keep what they have and the billions in bonuses they gave out should be returned to the American taxpayer..who continues to suffer.

    April 21, 2010 at 5:17 pm |
  125. Gregg Field

    Jack-

    If you want the President to show his independence from major corporations, I would say going after them when they have potentially broken the law instead of looking the other way sends a much stronger signal than returning campaign funds.

    Goldman and others should know who they are supporting!

    gregg field studio city, ca.

    April 21, 2010 at 5:17 pm |
  126. Chairman

    No, he should keep it and millions of other special interest dollars he will spin into just reasons to keep. NO special interests? Just another lie by someone the media pushed into being the leader of our country. Sad

    April 21, 2010 at 5:17 pm |
  127. Paul

    NO, it was all legal and part of the system we have. It is easy to second guess or criticize Obama. Congress makes the rules so criticize them.

    April 21, 2010 at 5:18 pm |
  128. EB

    Jack,

    Get real ! That money was spent already.

    The real thing here is that Obama allowed the SEC to go after Goldman without interferring. That is totally contra to not "biting the hand that feeds you". Good job Mr Obama.

    Think the R tribe would have done that ?

    No way.

    April 21, 2010 at 5:18 pm |
  129. kathy from Phoenix

    No Jack but if he did so should every member of congress that received donations from wall street to the health care providers. What's good for the goose is good for the gandor.

    April 21, 2010 at 5:18 pm |
  130. Bobby A.

    No, should Senator McCain return his too?

    April 21, 2010 at 5:18 pm |
  131. Seth

    If he gave the million $ back, seems to me it would be swallowed up in the black sucking hole that is the financial industry, and would never be seen again. I recommend that he bypass GS altogether and donate the money directly to pay back TARP in GS's behalf. Furthermore, any company that took bailout money should be BANNED from making political contributions until that money is repaid.

    April 21, 2010 at 5:18 pm |
  132. Morris Davis

    Jack,

    This is not a "game" to be played, it is Our government ... and we want it back. Government of the people, by the people, and for the people means "we the people" are the government. Buying government has got to stop ... Now!

    April 21, 2010 at 5:19 pm |
  133. Brad Roche

    What is Jack Cafferty's point.? Our government "lock stock and barrel" is controlled by money. I agree there is a problem, but O'bama took a donation and then filed a fraud case. He was not boughten by Goldman Sacks.

    April 21, 2010 at 5:19 pm |
  134. CJ

    No he shouldn't. I'm sure Goldy wouldn't might donating it to the national treasury.

    April 21, 2010 at 5:19 pm |
  135. Tom

    No, President Obama should not return the campaign contributions. The best way to show he is not beholden to special interests(Per Jack's question) is to stand up to special interests, in this case Wall Street, DESPITE their contributions. Additionally, while Wall Street was betting on Democrats in 2008, Jack should have noted that more recently Wall Street donations have GREATLY favored Republicans.

    April 21, 2010 at 5:19 pm |
  136. David P Vernon

    Tucson, AZ – This is silly. Goldman Sachs has gained NO influence with this Administration for their million bucks in contributions – the financial reform bill Obama is pushing will hurt their business model, and they are facing fraud charges from Obama's appointees. They might WANT their money back – but they should not get it!

    April 21, 2010 at 5:19 pm |
  137. Gail Loyd

    Returning the money is like a refund, supporting the idea that the money was intended to buy something which cannot be delivered. In fact, all the money SHOULD have been about was expressing a preference about who should be the next president. By not returning the money I hope we underline the idea that campaign contributions don't buy you anything more than support for the candidate of your choice. Keep the money. File charges anyway. Don't apologize.

    April 21, 2010 at 5:19 pm |
  138. randy odedra

    Yes he should
    Why do you think they donate millions of dollars. Nothing is free in this world. The end result, they want something back. Obama should definetly return the money. He makes enough from books, and will make money in future just giving talks. Definetly give money back. Obama cant be neutral when he owes companies favors.

    April 21, 2010 at 5:19 pm |
  139. Ron Brown

    Yes, the Admin should give the 1Mil back. But we can't blame
    Obama for this. It was going on for yrs before he took office.

    April 21, 2010 at 5:19 pm |
  140. Michael

    Of course.

    In accordance with his campaign representations the contributions should not have been accepted in the first place

    April 21, 2010 at 5:19 pm |
  141. Robert

    Absolutely! Anything short of this would be viewed as being extremely hypocritical given his campaign promises and in light of his administration now seeking a legal remedy to Goldman Sachs blatant fraudulent activities while bilking the tax payer out of billions of tax dollars. After all when you boil all of Goldman Sachs activities with these derivatives that got them in hot water in the first place we were being asked to cover their badly placed bets in what would otherwise be called for what it really is...legalized gambling at the tax payers expense.

    April 21, 2010 at 5:19 pm |
  142. walter scott

    Jack
    Yes Obama should return the $1 million.
    I would like to modify your statement that " our government is owned lock-stock and barrel by the major corporation" to include the labor unions and the plaintiff's lawyers who support the democratic party.
    Walter – Vermont

    April 21, 2010 at 5:20 pm |
  143. jim brennan

    Jack, I think all former and current elected officials should return
    their campaign contributions, but not to the corporations who contributed, but to the government, and therefore to the people. But we all know that will never happen. So, what else is new?

    April 21, 2010 at 5:20 pm |
  144. segun

    why should he return the money? the bottom line is that reform is needed and the president is concentrating on just that. i think this should not be politicised again, it's time to get some work done for America.

    April 21, 2010 at 5:20 pm |
  145. PV

    Yes. And since a number of high-ranking government officials in recent years have spent part of their careers at Goldman Sachs...they need to return their keys to the restroom.

    April 21, 2010 at 5:20 pm |
  146. James Whiteley

    NO! Obama shoiuld not return to one million dollars to Goldman-Sachs. If anything it shows that he was not influenced by this money to interfere with the investigation into its activities. And, the campaign contribution did not cause him to go easy on Wall Street. More power to the President!!! James Whiteley
    Paducah, Kentucky

    April 21, 2010 at 5:20 pm |
  147. Karen

    Yes Obama should return the monies. When all other candidates who received monies return their funds.

    Tell me Jack, why is it that know one has delved into the history of deregulation, who was responsible, and how this effected the escalation of derrivatives. Let those who were responsible for breaking down the walls of protection to stand up and take responsabiity.

    April 21, 2010 at 5:20 pm |
  148. Brian Smith PhD

    No way Jack… do NOT give it back to Goldman Sacks. They just made 3.3 billion. Obama needs to take the money and put it in the treasury earmarked for Unemployment Insurance.

    Brian Smith PhD
    San Diego CA

    April 21, 2010 at 5:20 pm |
  149. Ed Slutzky

    How ridiculous! Why didn't you mention the recent Supreme court decision that allows corporations to contribute as much as they like? That was pushed through by the conservatives on the court? If you want to pick the party that most likely will change the current situation of corporate dollars influencing our elections, I'll go with Obama and the Dems. Let the Teabaggers vote Republican and get what we got with that outrageous Supreme court decision.

    April 21, 2010 at 5:20 pm |
  150. Buck Rutledge

    Even though President Obama received money from Goldman-Sachs, he did not prevent an SEC investigation of the firm and he is pushing for financial reform. Just exactly what favors did that money buy?

    April 21, 2010 at 5:21 pm |
  151. Elizabeth McKee

    No way! One million dollars was a bargain to keep that dyamic duo McCain Palin out of office. Get real. This is how politics works!

    April 21, 2010 at 5:21 pm |
  152. Bill

    ABSOLUTELY!!!!!! Give it back Obama! You should pratice what your preach! You like Congress have been bought time and time again. Protect the citizens and stop acting so Demlican! Corporate America and its boardmembers should be tried for treason......They subvert the Constitution through their buying influence. They get laws passed to avoid litigation that only puts more money in their coffers. The judiciary is not much help when it comes to declaring anything unconstitutional. Too bad the the old school politicians are now out numbered by the corrupt ones. LET FREEDOM RING.... clean house on Congress NOW!!!!

    April 21, 2010 at 5:21 pm |
  153. Wendy Nash

    Yes, if everyone else does too! Why play favorites?

    April 21, 2010 at 5:21 pm |
  154. Jeremy D from Michigan

    He absolutely should. I find it very surprising that 3 out of 4 dollars goes to Dems. Another reason why politics need to change in this country. Liberal is supposed to mean anti-big business. Today's "Liberals" are something else. Thanks for the info Jack.

    April 21, 2010 at 5:22 pm |
  155. Mike Nolan Sr

    Sure Jack. As soon as Bush, Cheney and all the other politicians, Democrats and Republicans alike, who received money from Goldman Sachs give theirs back. And yes, business does own our government and our politicians. It is no longer nor has it ever been a government of the people.
    Mike
    Newport News, Virginia

    April 21, 2010 at 5:22 pm |
  156. kent, nj

    No ,obama earned his 1 million dollar contribution. He appointed geitner to treasury and re-appointed the fed chair bernanke who loaned out 23 trillion to banks and wall street firms like goldman sacks. Obama is the best thing that ever happened to wall street. He has been well paid to allow firms like goldman sacks to borrow trillions of taxpayer dollars at 0% interest and invest the money in the 600 trillion dollar derivatives gambling casino.

    April 21, 2010 at 5:22 pm |
  157. Pete

    Jack. As a candidate, the president worked hard to show that he was a different kind of politician – today is the time to prove it! He should return the money so he'll get a second chance to earn my vote.

    April 21, 2010 at 5:23 pm |
  158. Shelia

    No. The last time I checked, "biting the hand that feeds you" is not what someone does when they've been bought out. The President's actions demonstrate he's not in the financial industry's pocket. He's acting indpendently in the best interest of the average citizen.

    April 21, 2010 at 5:23 pm |
  159. Nancy, Tennessee

    Our political candidates would not need to sell their souls lock stock and barrel to the highest bidder if we put a cap on the amount that a candidate is allowed to spend on campaign expenses. With all those millions floating around in an election year, there is bound to be some corruption in the way those monies are obtained and spent. President Obama may as well keep the funds unless the SEC demands the return of the funds and that's not likely to happen.

    April 21, 2010 at 5:23 pm |
  160. Charles Shapiro

    It is easy to be against big money in politics, but what is the alternative? If you are going to tell Obama to give the money back, then you should be telling the 'people' to up their contributions. But so many in the media trash the government, so fewer will be giving to the political system, making the politicians more dependent, not less on the big donors.
    I think it is nice to see Obama going after GS in spite of the donation.

    April 21, 2010 at 5:23 pm |
  161. Dave Proulx

    It's called being two faced.

    Give it back!

    April 21, 2010 at 5:23 pm |
  162. Michael Roepke - Dallas, TX

    If Pres. Obama return the nearly $1 million in campaign contributions from Goldman Sachs wouldn't he be interfering with Goldman Sachs right to free speech?

    April 21, 2010 at 5:24 pm |
  163. katiec Pekin, IL

    Jack, I don't know how this all works, but imagine it would be complicated. If the funds can be returned it should be given to
    charity rather than to these bandits.
    At least you brought up the fact that many politicians received and receive funds from financial institutions. Would bet you these last
    few months the republicans far outweigh the Democrats.

    April 21, 2010 at 5:24 pm |
  164. Jim Idso

    Yes, I think the Obama Campaign should give back the money given them by Goldman Sachs. It is also a sad truth that our government is too often bought and paid for by the special interests, which are largely Big Business. Our elected officials need to increase our welfare in their decision-making equation and decrease that of the special interests.

    April 21, 2010 at 5:24 pm |
  165. Linda Wittmer

    No! That would mean that they expected favors with their contibution. This is what we DON'T want. We want a president that is willing to make the tough decisions, regardless of who makes a contibution to their party.

    April 21, 2010 at 5:24 pm |
  166. Wayne Kleem

    Yes, Obama should return the money and so should every politician. Also, we should elimination elections and go to a lottery system.

    April 21, 2010 at 5:24 pm |
  167. Louis nothing

    Yes. The president's promise to not take special interest's money was one of the deciding factors for why I voted for him. By the way Jack, your right about this being business as usual. I want to congratulate you for having a pair big enough to say it on the air.

    April 21, 2010 at 5:24 pm |
  168. Alex

    The suggestion that the Democrats return the Goldman Sachs campaign contribution is absurd, and seems disingenuous on your part. To do so would hurt only the party that is trying to regulate Wall Street abuses and the administration that is prosecuting Goldman Sachs. Besides, the money was given for a specific campaign, which is over, the money presumably spent.

    April 21, 2010 at 5:24 pm |
  169. Pamela holt

    Foley, Al. He should donate it to our government to help pay down the deficit. What kind of lesson has he taught his own daughters by going against his own promise not to accept money from special interests. no one made him do it. What a sad state of affairs he has put himself in as far as how he had presented himself to the American people and what his own actions has actually proven him to be. He doesn"t even have anyone but himself to bleme. He has been weighed by the scales and found wanting!!!!

    April 21, 2010 at 5:24 pm |
  170. Janice

    If he has to pay back the $1 million in campaign funds... then all politicians should repay the donations that were given to them by major Wall Street donors. My goodness, the man just donated millions in charity. So, stop the double standards...

    April 21, 2010 at 5:25 pm |
  171. Lena T Sidney

    Not until every politician who received donations( including the Bush administration) does the same. That money helped to give us the best President we have ever had, so it was money well spent.
    Go Obama 2012!!

    April 21, 2010 at 5:25 pm |
  172. April

    Absolutely not! Just because Goldman Sachs donated to President Obama's campaign doesn't mean that Goldman Sachs owns him and gets to determine his agenda. It is the question of free will..one thing that corporations can't touch, they can try and influence but they are not always successful. Case in point, Obama. It is about time a politician stands up to his contributions and does not pick favoritism. Maybe this will send a message to other politicians particularly politicians in the congressional committee that have oversight of the financial industry? Oh, if we could only hope!

    April 21, 2010 at 5:25 pm |
  173. Ralph N.-W.

    Yes he and the other benefactors of Goldman's largesse should return the money. But not directlyto Goldman. Those crooks have gotten enough of our money. The money should go into a fund to help mainstreet.

    April 21, 2010 at 5:26 pm |
  174. Gary Siegfried from Arizona

    Yes I think he should give back the money to prove he is not beholding to the SPECIAL INTERESTS and keep his campaign promise. Isn't funny how politicians promise everything then go back on them once they get elected.

    April 21, 2010 at 5:26 pm |
  175. James Whiteley

    NO! Obama should not return the one million dollars to Goldman Sachs. His actions show that he was not influenced by their money to go easy on Wall Street. More power to the President!!! James Whiteley
    Paducah, Kentucky

    April 21, 2010 at 5:26 pm |
  176. Harry Butcher

    Jack,

    Your argument is defeated by the actions of this Administration. If the President and the Democrats had been paid off to avoid the charges, then Wall Street made another bad investment because the Democrats and the Administration is proving they are for true Financial Reform. It was the Republicans who were opposing true Financial Reform, until the Goldman Sachs issue "blew up in their face" and made it politically impossible to maintain their rediculous position of opposing the Democrats on every issue no matter what the cost is to the American people. So, the answer is no. The President should not give back the money. He has proven he has not been paid off.

    Harry – Baltimore, MD

    April 21, 2010 at 5:26 pm |
  177. Rox from Minneapolis

    Why single out Pres. Obama? At least he's willing to bite the hand that fed him. If you really think he ought to return his campaign contributions, then let's go further... how about requiring all of Congress to return their millions in funding from ALL of the lying Financial institutions... then we can focus on returning funds from other suspect industries after that... With its recent ruling, the Supreme Court gave its tacit approval for businesses to throw money at politics. Why single out the President for a political money trail structure that's been in effect with a wink and a nod on both sides of the aisle for ages?

    April 21, 2010 at 5:26 pm |
  178. Bill Heinemann

    Jack,
    I say "Take the Money and Run". After voting for Obama I began to feel queasy learning about the wall street connections his administration had a history with. There is no point in giving the money back since there is no secret to the White House's history with the banking community. Actions speak louder than words. Take the money, do what's right, and laugh all the way to the bank.....
    I just hope he doesn't count on another million from Wall st. in 2012.
    Bill
    Jupiter, Fla.

    April 21, 2010 at 5:26 pm |
  179. Jim

    Yes, give it back then prosecute them, otherwise they have a get-out-of-jail-free card.

    April 21, 2010 at 5:26 pm |
  180. Mike in Scottsdale

    Why should he. Keeping it would be the status quo.

    Perhaps donate it to a worth charity to make himself look better. Pull the wool over more people eyes.

    April 21, 2010 at 5:26 pm |
  181. Albert R. K. Los Anegles

    Yes Jack, it must all go back because refusing and returning corporate bribes is what the people want to hear. Obama must set the example that when you run for office you are for We the People and not for incorporated groups of people who only want to compel all to conform to their cause, whatever it may be, especially not property and financial domination by the rich and well connected global corporatist. “Not for hire” is change we can believe in!

    April 21, 2010 at 5:26 pm |
  182. EMMA

    Lobbyist own this country you are right about that! Our Founding Fathers are spinning in their graves at the mockery being made of our legislative process. Why don't you use your media platform to blast our elected officials who take the bribes from lobbyist instead of demonizing our President?

    Why don't you ask if Goldman Sachs should return the trillions of dollars to the pension funds they ripped off with their fraud scheme.

    No I don't think our President should return the campaign contributions from the "employees" of Goldman Sachs.

    April 21, 2010 at 5:26 pm |
  183. Scott Stodden

    Uh Let me think for a minute Jack Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmm, YES,YES, YES! Goldman Sachs or any other company are prohibited from directly giving cash donations to any campaign, those are the rules Jack and if the rules have been broken the only right thing to do is correct what's been broken and the right thing to do is give back the money, do you see how backwards and bogus not only our lawmakers and political leaders are but Big Banks and Wall Street as well, there are people out here suffering Mr President when are the regular American people going to come out on top instead of Big Banks, Fiancial investors and politicians!

    Scott Stodden (Freeport,Illinois)

    April 21, 2010 at 5:27 pm |
  184. Kathy, CA

    Hell NO. Keep the money or turn it over to charity. We've given back to Goldman Sachs plenty of money and don't need to give them a penny more.
    Hank Paulson a Goldman Sachs guy, remember him and his relationship with Bush. I would investigate them too. What did they know and when did they know it. Financial collapse happened on their watch and what timing, at the end of Bush's reign for the next guy to take responsibility to clean up.
    What's up with Hank these days anyway.... awfully quiet, and Bush, AWOL again.

    April 21, 2010 at 5:27 pm |
  185. Anita Bracy

    jack why didn't you post the amount of money republicans in the house & senate and john mccain received from goldman sach? why haven't posed the question on whether they should return all monies from goldman sach?

    April 21, 2010 at 5:27 pm |
  186. Mike in New Orleans

    No Jack. Did Bush and Cheney return any money that the oil industry gave them? Perhaps Goldman Sachs was just confident that an intelligent president might be able to fix the mess Bush and Cheney left behind. So far, they were right.

    April 21, 2010 at 5:28 pm |
  187. darlene

    why should the president give back the campaign money. he is not the only politician who recieved donations from bankers,but unlike the others he is not in their pockets , he is trying to reform wall street,its sad that the whining republicans dont want reform.

    April 21, 2010 at 5:28 pm |
  188. arvin mosley

    No, President Obama has no obligation to give something back he never got. The contribution was given in the hope that Obama, if elected, would look favorably upon them; however, President Obama is president of these United States, not the puppet of Goldman Sachs

    April 21, 2010 at 5:28 pm |
  189. robert

    at this point, i'm so sickened by this curious amalgam of politics and finance, that it really wouldn't matter if they gave the money back. once i voted for the "change," what i came to realize, is that i am actually NOT the target market. i pay my bills, my taxes, and have never taken or requested a handout from the government. strange, as it doesn't seem corporate america can subscribe to such a concept...

    April 21, 2010 at 5:29 pm |
  190. C. O. Stanard

    President Obama should put the money where his mouth is and not keep the donations from Goldman Sachs or other corporate or union PACs. However, Goldman doesn't need the money. Perhaps he could donate it to make a very small dent in the national debt. (I'm cynic enough to believe that some bonuses were given with the "wink, wink" understanding some would be given to approved candidates.

    April 21, 2010 at 5:29 pm |
  191. John Locke

    The POTUS should certainly give back the money. All of our representatives should return those monies. Res ipsa loquitur!

    April 21, 2010 at 5:30 pm |
  192. Sergio A. Martin Hollywood Florida

    Why should he return the money? They gambled on Obama, like they gambled with our money. Obama should keep the money and continue to push for his legislation to restrain Wallstreet and protect the consumer. This will show he cannot be bought by lobbyiests - They donate at their own risk.

    April 21, 2010 at 5:32 pm |
  193. JONIQUe

    why should My President give the money back? He should donate the money to the homeless in DC. He told wall street what he was going to do. Now they beleive him. Love to Obama- made in the good ol' USA.

    April 21, 2010 at 5:35 pm |
  194. chris romine

    Dear Jack ; I feel that we have been sold out to the corperations on all fronts , the corperations pay [lobby ] polititions to appoint judges in Workers Comp Commision [Judges] and to appoint the Equal Rights Judges ,and Labor Dept as well, and also Socail Security to many Gray areas for us with major disabilities , so it does not amaze me at all that this would happen its not right and he should refund the money and avoid any thing that has to do with the case , in my view it is a conflict of interest and they are protecting some major wrong doing I strongly feel that this was all planned and planned very well from the Clinton Administration and then the Bush Adminastration took it all the way Bankrupt America if they was really working for We The American People they would end Free Trade and Go with Fair trade

    April 21, 2010 at 5:37 pm |
  195. mimi blake

    not unless all politicians from both parties return theirs (he refused a free plane ride from Oprah during thee campaign)

    April 21, 2010 at 5:38 pm |
  196. Brian

    No Jack. Candidates need to raise money. It's part of our election process. Goldman Sachs seemed to have thrown money in all directions to get a vote in their favor in Financial Reform. Obama just happen to be the biggest target. Unfortunately for them they lost with Obama. Obama is sending the message that you can donate to his campaign, but you can't buy my vote. More politicians should learn from this.

    April 21, 2010 at 5:38 pm |
  197. rob

    The whole of Washington is as corrupt as Wall Street!!!
    Looking at Obama's record he totally went in bed with the "doctors" and "hospitals" instead of regulating their cost. ( charging $60 for surgical cloves and $ 100 for a toothbrush: two days stay in a hospital for $20,000!!!)
    Then only playing the game of "regulating "Banks" instead of grabbing the real culprits such as Mr. Paulson who made billions on the Goldman deal. Refusing just as with healthcare to grab the real rip off artists; in this case he should regulate the Hedge Funds!!!!
    Obama is run by lobbyist as just about any President in the past!!!!

    April 21, 2010 at 5:39 pm |
  198. Liz, Los Angeles, CA

    It's a no-brainer. Which means it ain't-a-gonna-happen.

    April 21, 2010 at 5:40 pm |
  199. Donel

    Absolutely not. By being tough on Wall street, president Obama has proven he is not beholding to them. Republicans seem to be the ones beholding to Wall-street.That million-dollar bet is no different the usual bets wall-street makes against itself.

    April 21, 2010 at 5:44 pm |
  200. josh

    Jack,
    The fact that fraud charges have been brought against Goldman Sachs even though they contributed $1 million to Obama's campaign indicates to me that Obama is NOT beholden to them. If Obama was beholden to them because of the campaign contributions don't you think he would offer some quid pro quo by burying the charges? It's good to see at least one of these corrupt financial institutions has to answer for their actions regardless of what they contributed to the current administration. I understand your cynicism, but don't you think it's a good sign that the campaign contribution did not buy them immunity?

    April 21, 2010 at 5:56 pm |
  201. Jesse J Vancouver Canada

    Hi Jack,

    Sure President Obama should return the 1 million that Goldman Sachs gave and so should EVERY congress member and senator.

    Then Goldman Sachs should have a forensic audit done by the SEC to see where the money is going in this big shell game.

    Regulate the hell out of Wall Street so they can never rip off Main Street

    Jesse J
    Vancouver Canada

    April 21, 2010 at 6:05 pm |
  202. JIM

    Almost all candidates on both sides of the aisle receive money from the same company. The companies are hedging their bets. Goldman Sachs probably gave money to canditates for the same office. Plain and simple.

    April 21, 2010 at 6:09 pm |
  203. Mel Seyffert - Houston

    Why should he? This just an example that political contributions do not buy favaors. I wish it were otherwise; but, its not. The government would be much more citizen represented goverment which is what I think the constitution framer had in mind.

    April 21, 2010 at 6:10 pm |