Deep Pockets

“Until campaigns are run on public funds, with the exception of small private donations — say, $1000 tops — there will always be corruption because politicians will be in the (deep) pockets of large corporate donors.”

While federal law prohibits corporations donating money directly to candidates or national party committees, super PACs can raise unlimited funds from individuals, corporations, unions and other groups.

The money raised can only be spent on an “independent expenditure.” According to the Federal Election Commission’s website…

“An independent expenditure is an expenditure for a communication, such as a website, newspaper, TV or direct mail advertisement that:

  • “Expressly advocates the election or defeat of a clearly identified candidate; and
  • Is not made in consultation or cooperation with, or at the request or suggestion of any candidate, or his or her authorized committees or agents, or a political party committee or its agents.”

The information’s slippery about which companies (or CEOs) are donating where… but I’ll try to have a few nuggets Monday.

In the meantime, write in with your best guesses.

Send your opinions to,

Your Rundown for Friday, November 22, 2019:

OG Discount Brokerage

On Oct. 1, Charles Schwab announced it would be next in a succession of retail brokerages slashing fees and commissions on stock trades to zero.

From the graphic below, you can see why it’s no big deal for Schwab to cut commissions… and a stretch for TD Ameritrade:


Courtesy: Bloomberg

But — at the time of Schwab’s announcement — TD Ameritrade said it would follow suit. And chaos ensued. Share prices of all household-name brokerages crashed, Schwab by 10% and TD Ameritrade by 26%.

“Now, [Charles Schwab] is seizing on the turmoil it unleashed to acquire one of its biggest rivals, TD Ameritrade Holding Corp,” Bloomberg says.

What would the buyout mean for Schwab? Leverage in the fierce competition for retail investors’ cash, for one.

(By the way, shares of both Schwab and TD Ameritrade closed up yesterday — by 7% and 17% respectively. So there’s that.)

Oh, and this: “The tie-up would result in a $5 trillion titan,” says Bloomberg, “but analysts say it could attract antitrust scrutiny.”

Speaking of monopolies…

Regarding the Schwab and TD Ameritrade merger, co-founder Charles Schwab said: “I don’t know whether we’ll be successful in that pursuit, but in the industry you’re going to see more consolidation, more firms getting together.”

And “consolidation” ultimately means fewer choices for Main Street investors.

Market Rundown for Fri. Nov. 22, 2019

S&P 500 futures are up 8 points to 3,112.

Oil’s down 15 cents per barrel to $58.43.

Gold is up 80 cents to $1,464.40 per ounce.

Ouch. Bitcoin is down 7.6% to $7,067.74.

Have a great weekend — we’ll catch up with you Monday.

For the Rundown,

Aaron Gentzler

Aaron Gentzler

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Aaron Gentzler

Aaron Gentzler is the publisher of Seven Figure Publishing. He is also the editor of The Rundown and has been with Agora Financial / Seven Figure Publishing since 2005. He's been covering technology and markets for over a decade.

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