Cory Booker's infatuation with big money, and letting big money take over more and more of the public sphere, is nothing new. It was detailed well in this diary.
Booker is now poised to take the seat of the late Frank Lautenberg. Someone, although personally wealthy, who had the opposite view. He fought to defend the public sphere and the average citizen against the large moneyed interests. His son has this to say about Booker:
"What we don't need is a politician in the pockets of Bain Capital," Lautenberg said today, overlooking the Great Falls in Paterson, a national park that the elder Lautenberg helped establish.
The reference was to an interview Booker gave last year where he criticized President Obama's re-election campaign for attacking the private equity firm founded by Obama's Republican opponent, Mitt Romney.
"We don't need a senator that wants to sell our schools, our kids, out to the highest bidder," Lautenberg said, again referring to Booker.
Booker's love affair with venture capitalists and wall streeet is well known. Today, the New York Times looks into his love affair, and personal profit, with silicon valley:
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.
. . . .
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.
The company has a goal: making it easy to "collect, curate and share" videos from across the Web. But much about its operations and Mr. Booker's role as chairman appears ill defined.
Mr. Booker declined to answer questions about the details of Waywire's finances, including what percentage of the company he currently owns. A spokesman said Mr. Booker had invested some of his own money in the company but refused to say how much.
Though his involvement in Waywire has been public since July 2012, Mr. Booker did not disclose his ownership interest in the company on his financial report filed with the city and only recently amended the federal form he filed as a candidate for the Senate to reflect his ownership. The spokesman, James Allen, said that the city form was amended Tuesday.
. . . .
Mr. Booker received the largest stake because of his social media profile, his name recognition and his connections to investors, and he was not expected to run the company, Mr. Richardson said, though Mr. Booker has attended every board meeting, according to another investor. "Cory is the inspiration architect," Ms. Ross said. "He really is the thought-leader soul part of the business."
The enhanced percentage is troubling to some ethics watchdogs. "If you're getting a large percentage just because you're a well-known political figure, that's a little bit problematic," said Melanie Sloan, executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington. "People tend to prefer their political figures not to be cashing in on their positions of public trust."
Voters in New Jersey, particularly Democrats, need to ask themselves the question, who will Cory Booker represent if elected to the senate? Wall Street? Venture Capitalists? Silicon Valley? Or the citizens of New Jersey?