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Think tank critical of Elizabeth Warren has many corporate connections

By Laurie Bennett

December 5, 2013 at 11:08am

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) has called on the nation’s six largest banks to release information about their contributions to think tanks.

Warren sent a letter to Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, Citigroup, Wells Fargo and Morgan Stanley, stating:

Just as there is transparency around your direct efforts to influence policy making through lobbying, the same transparency should exist for any indirect efforts you make to influence policymaking through financial contributions to think tanks.

While banks have to report their lobbying expenditures and political contributions, the law doesn’t require financial institutions - or any companies, for that matter - to disclose donations to think tanks.

It’s probably not coincidence that Warren sent the letter the day after the Wall Street Journal published an op-ed critical of her philosophy of “economic populism.”

The column was written by two top executives of Third Way, which does not reveal its donors.

The map at the top of this post shows major corporate connections of Third Way trustees. Three of the companies receiving Warren’s letter - Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan and Morgan Stanley - appear in the map. (Solid lines represent current relationships; dotted lines are former.)

The opinion piece has drawn particular attention because the think tank is closely allied with the Democratic Party. Co-author Jon Cowan, president of Third Way, is a former chief of staff to Andrew Cuomo.

All 12 of the organization’s honorary co-chairs are Democratic members of Congress:

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