Meg Whitman's Ties to Bank Raise Conflict Questions

Long relationship with Goldman Sachs has profited Whitman in the past

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    TK
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    Meg Whitman's deep ties to investment bank Goldman Sachs raise questions about potential conflicts of interest if elected governor.

    Wall Street investment bank Goldman Sachs has managed record profits even in the midst of the fallout from the collapse of the real estate bubble and the ensuing turmoil in financial markets.

    As such, it has become an icon of populists who accuse Goldman of preying on small time home buyers to profit while benefiting from corporate welfare through federal bailout money.

    All of which could be bad news for former eBay CEO Meg Whitman and her campaign to become California's governor -- because Whitman and Goldman go way back.

    Whitman briefly sat on Goldman's board of directors, leaving after being named in a stock "spinning" scandal where Whitman was given early, exclusive access to initial public offerings in exchange for, she was accused in a later lawsuit by eBay investors, steering more of her company's business to Goldman.

    Both Goldman and Whitman settled their related civil cases, paying restitution and admitting no wrongdoing. The practice has since been banned.

    Whitman still has plenty of business with Goldman, who manage much of her personal wealth, estimated to be north of $1 billion.

    As does California, which regularly uses Goldman to issue and manage massive state bonds.

    It's another instance of where Whitman's experience in business that she's selling as a reason to elect her governor may in fact turn out to be her Achilles heel.

    Though reportedly her campaign has been studying up on what worked and what didn't in the few cases of high-profile businesspeople moving into executive roles in the public sphere.

    New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who spent $108 million in his successful bid for reelection last year, and George Romney, the former American Motors Corporation chief who was elected governor of Michigan back in the sixties are cited as inspirations.

    Jackson West still can't get over how much Bloomberg spent on a mayoral race.