Wells Fargo Scandal and Hillary Clinton
Opinion: Wells Fargo and CEO, John Stumpf, are in the spotlight this past week for an increasingly complex scandal involving opening more than 2 million fake accounts for customers without consent and seeing a profit on these accounts. This is a scandal leading from corporate and about 5,000 employees have been fired. This unethical behavior was widespread in the company, with many employees opening unauthorized accounts for customers that resulted in overdraft and monthly fees. The company has been fined $185 million. An important question is: how is this sort of behavior so widespread among a company and no employees see the problem with it? Simply, it was because they were pressured to do so. With constant pressure from corporate to perform to a certain level and an allowance for activities such as this, how could they not go along with it?
Although the CEO denies any orchestrated fraud, it is apparent that there has been some amount of neglect and failure to respect the law and individual privacy of their customers. Stumpf said, “I do want to make it clear that there was no orchestrated effort or scheme as some have called it, by the company”. Carrie Tolstedt, a Wells Fargo executive that was in charge of the division in which these accounts were created, is set to walk away with $124 million in stocks and options as she retires at the end of this year, despite this negligence. As Wells Fargo is a private company this is more of an issue for them and their customers affected, it is a large display of negligence from a private company.
Many politicians have been very outspoken about their disapproval with Wells Fargo and the situation at hand, including Senator Elizabeth Warren and Hillary Clinton. Senator Warren has called for the resignation of CEO John Stumpf in the heat of this scandal and has told him he is “gutless”. She and seven other senators have called for an investigation into the firing of all 5,000 employees from the Department of Labor. Warren was very outspoken about the fact that no senior executives have been fired. “Your definition of ‘accountable’ is to push the blame to your low-level employees… it’s gutless leadership.” Hillary Clinton has also been outspoken about the issue, utilizing it as a campaign advantage and an opportunity to voice her strong opinions about immoral corporate acts. She has always been a strong advocate for corporate transparency and maintaining basic morals when it comes to individuals. Just look at the Clinton Foundation.
Over the years, Wells Fargo, the bank, and their foundation have given generously to the Clinton Foundation. The bank has given between $10,001-$25,000 and the foundation has given between $100,001 and $250,000 (Huffington Post). Bill Clinton has also given a speech to Wells Fargo in 2011, in which they paid $200,000. Breitbart: “This is classic Hillary Clinton: publicly criticizing a company because it’s good politics while the Clinton Foundation quietly accepts hundreds of thousands of dollars from that same company,” said Jeff Bechdel, communications director of the conservative America Rising PAC. “If Clinton truly meant what she wrote, her letter would have been accompanied by a check from her family foundation returning the money from the company she is hypocritically complaining about.” Jeff Bechdel makes a good point. Hillary Clinton will say anything to get elected, despite her ties to companies like Wells Fargo that are involved with scandals like this. Her ties to unethical behavior is starting to become a trend, yet she continues to maintain a front that she is against acts like this, that she does not condone these practices, and that she has no ties or affiliation to big banks and corporations. She needs to own up to her ties to Wells Fargo and other banks and corporations and quit pretending to be against them and acts like this.
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