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Small Town Mayor Touts Tenure at Disgraced Wall Street Firms

In a special election on September 13, Marsha Sterling is running for mayor of Winsted, Connecticut, a small town nestled in bucolic northwestern Connecticut. (Sterling was appointed Mayor in April after the previous mayor resigned.)

Sterling proudly touts on her campaign web page her “15 years experience as an investment banker at Merrill Lynch and Goldman Sachs.”

Yes, the same Goldman Sachs that financial reporter Matt Taibbi dubbed “a giant vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money.”

Yes the same Goldman Sachs that has been fined numerous times by law enforcement officials.

Yes, the same Merrill Lynch, with a checkered history of wrongdoing — also fined numerous times by law enforcement officials.

Yes, the same Wall Street firms that were central actors in crashing the Main Street economy and the housing market in every local community in the country in 2008.

The same firms where the wrongful activity was festering for years before it erupted in 2008.

Sterling won’t say what her work was at Goldman Sachs or Merrill Lynch.

(A March 2000 report in Investment Dealers Digest reports that she was a managing director at Merrill Lynch and worked on the takeover of National Westminster Bank — NatWest, the largest retail and commercial bank in the UK — by the Royal Bank of Scotland.)

Nor will Sterling give her thoughts about the chronic wrongdoing that went on at Goldman Sachs or Merrill Lynch.

(Other politicians who worked for Goldman Sachs or Merrill Lynch at least answer questions about the stigma attached to working for these firms. Take for example former Goldman Sachs executive Neel Kashkari, who is running as a Republican in November for Governor of California against Jerry Brown. (“Goldman Sachs, Bank Bailouts and No Experience: Why These Stigmas Won’t Stop Neel Kashkari From Running for Governor,” Business Insider, February 15, 2014.)

It is as if Sterling was working at a local ice cream store.

“Worked for 15 years at Betty’s Ice Cream store.”

Except that she worked at two of the most disgraced Wall Street firms in recent history.

It is telling that politicians like Marsha Sterling and Neel Kashkari feel no disgrace for having worked at Goldman Sachs or Merrill Lynch.

They apparently perceive that their constituents want to elect someone who worked at major Wall Street firms — no matter their record of corporate law breaking.

What does that say about corporate crime deterrence in America?

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