Cory Booker Doesn't Even Try To Hide His Big Money Payoffs

Cory Booker received big money from Silicon Valley for a failed web startup company even before he ran for the Senate, and also hired CNN's CEO's 15 year old son.

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Here are some things to keep in mind for New Jersey Democrats when they vote in next Tuesday's Democratic senatorial primary. Remember when Booker went on Dancing Dave's show and defended Bain Capital?

Appearing on NBC’s “Meet The Press” on Sunday, Newark Mayor and Obama bundler Cory Booker said he was “uncomfortable” with the Obama campaign’s attacks on Mitt Romney’s career with Bain Capital.

“It’s a distraction from the real issues,” Booker said, of both attacks on Bain and Rev. Jeremiah Wright. “It’s either gonna be a small campaign about this crap, or it’s gonna be a big campaign about the issues the American public cares about.”

“I’m not about to sit here and indict private equity,” Booker added. “If you look at the totality of Bain Capital’s record, they’ve done a lot to support businesses — to grow businesses. And this to me, I’m very uncomfortable.”

I think most progressives who didn't know much about him got the picture very clearly about who and what he stands for, but apparently it's still good to be to Cory Booker:

Mr. Booker personally has obtained money for the start-up, called Waywire, from influential investors, including Eric E. Schmidt, Google’s executive chairman. A year after its debut, Waywire has already endured a round of layoffs and had just 2,207 visitors in June, according to Compete, a Web-tracking service. The company says it is still under development.

Yet in a financial disclosure filed last month, Mr. Booker, 44, revealed that his stake in the company was worth $1 million to $5 million. Taken together, his other assets were worth no more than $730,000.

That revelation, with just a week left in Mr. Booker’s campaign for the Democratic nomination for the United States Senate, shows how a few tech moguls and entrepreneurs, many of them also campaign donors, not only made a financial bet on the mayor’s political future but also provided the brainpower and financing to help create a company that could make him very rich.

Waywire has also provided jobs for associates of Mr. Booker: the son of a top campaign supporter and his social media consultant, who is now on his Senate campaign staff.

As Digby says:

In the past politicians had the good taste to at least be out of office before they accepted such lucrative sinecures. Today they're just taking their bribes right out in the open and calling themselves "entrepreneurs."

But the slime doesn't stop there: (h/t Atrios)

He isn’t even old enough to drive — but CNN President Jeff Zucker’s teenage son has already resigned from a cushy position at Cory Booker’s closely watched Internet start-up. After somehow scoring a seat on the advisory board of the rising Democratic star’s Waywire video-sharing site, 15-year-old Andrew Zucker abruptly quit yesterday amid questions over his qualifications.

The rich kid’s consulting career as a “millennial adviser” ended just hours after it was revealed that he had been granted stock options in the firm co-founded by Booker, the Newark mayor who polls show is a shoo-in for the US Senate after a special election.

“Despite the fact that his affiliation with Waywire was extremely limited to only an advisory capacity, in order to avoid even the perception of a conflict, Jeff’s son has resigned from the Waywire advisory board, effective immediately,” CNN said in a statement.News of Andrew’s stock deal lit up social media yesterday, with critics on Twitter branding it a “gross nepotism alert.” Corporate-governance experts also called his hiring highly unusual, saying they’d never before heard of anyone so young getting such a cushy gig. Advisory boards are usually stocked with “seasoned folks who have been through the process of making that kind of a start-up work, or enhancing the capacity of a company so it can move to an IPO [initial public offering] or the next level of business,” said Eleanor Bloxham, CEO of The Value Alliance. “So you’re not generally looking in the high-school age range.”

Gross nepotism alert sort of captures what he did, but he's really just making sure CNN's coverage is very favorable to him. I met Mr. Booker in 2009 and he was very nice, warm and charismatic. It's a shame that he's whoring for Wall Street like he is, but I imagine the Villagers will eat this up and praise him for his open dishonesty.

Oh, in case you don't understand the term we frequently use to describe the beltway media elites, here's Digby's explanation:

The term "The Village" does stem from the notorious Sally Quinn article about the Clintons. But it's more than that. It's shorthand for the permanent DC ruling class who have managed to convince themselves that they are simple, puritanical, bourgeois burghers and farmers, even though they are actually celebrity millionaires influencing the most powerful government on earth.

It's about their phoniness, their pretense of speaking for "average Americans" when it's clear they haven't the vaguest clue even about the average Americans who work in their local Starbucks or drive their cabs. (Think Tim Russert, good old boy from Buffalo, lately of Nantucket.)It's about their intolerable sanctimony and hypocritical provincialism, pretending to be shocked about things they all do, creating social rules for others which they themselves ignore.

The village is really "the village," an ersatz small town like something you'd see in Disneyland.

This is why I've been supporting Rush Holt for the open seat.

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