Full Transcript: Corporate Lobbyist Howard Franklin On GHOGH Podcast Part 2

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Howard Franklin
Corporate lobbyist Howard Franklin chats to Jamarlin Martin in the second part of a three-part series known as “The Swamp” on the GHOGH podcast. Image: Anita Sanikop

In episode 56 of the GHOGH podcast, Jamarlin Martin continues his series on The Swamp with Howard Franklin, who has lobbied for Amazon, Google and Sprint.

They discuss AIPAC, Beto O’Rourke calling Benjamin Netanyahu racist, and whether there is a basket of deplorables in Israel.

They debate whether the Black agenda is connected to U.S. foreign policy and the swamp.

They also discuss the swamp practice of millionaire politicians transferring value to family members and sacrificing good policy while in office for anticipated gains once they leave the swamp.

You can listen to the entire conversation right now in the audio player below. If you prefer to listen on your phone, GHOGH with Jamarlin Martin is available wherever you listen to podcasts — including Apple PodcastsSpotifyYouTube, and SoundCloud.

Listen to GHOGH with Jamarlin Martin | Episode 56: Howard Franklin
Part 2: Jamarlin continues his series on The Swamp with Howard Franklin, who has lobbied for Amazon, Google and Sprint. They discuss AIPAC, Beto O’Rourke calling Benjamin Netanyahu racist, and whether there is a basket of deplorables in Israel. They debate whether the Black agenda is connected to U.S. foreign policy and the swamp. They also discuss the swamp practice of millionaire politicians transferring value to family members and sacrificing good policy while in office for anticipated gains once they leave the swamp.

This is a full transcript of the conversation which has been lightly edited for clarity.

Jamarlin Martin: You’re listening to GHOGH with Jamarlin Martin. We have a go hard or go home approach as we talk to the leading tech leaders, politicians and influencers. Let’s GHOGH! This is part two of my interview with Howard Franklin. What’s going on here? Okay, now that you brought up AIPAC…

Howard Franklin: Let the record reflect, I responded to a question about AIPAC.

Jamarlin Martin: Let’s keep on talking AIPAC. Okay, so Cory Booker. Of course Hillary Clinton was busted by hackers affiliated with Russia where she said, I don’t want to release the transcript of my speech with Goldman Sachs, these bankers. Of course, the Democratic Party they run in 2008, “Oh Wall Street messing up the economy. Oh, it’s not fair.” But she’s out there getting her paper.

Howard Franklin: I take serious issue with that.

Jamarlin Martin: Hold on. Getting her paper. Not only getting her paper from Wall Street, who the Democratic Party is blaming and who the government is not prosecuting, anybody, in terms of the financial crisis. She wants to keep it secret. So they hacked and they get the transcript of Goldman Sachs. Okay. Now, just a couple of weeks ago, Cory Booker meets with AIPAC privately. Someone smart enough to say, forget the hacking after the fact. I’m going to go in with a tape recorder. Okay. Cory Booker said that if I take a step back from AIPAC or the cause of Israel, cut off his finger, if I remember correctly, he said cut off his finger. What is going on there? I have not heard any Black politician in my life talk like that for the people in Watts, in Baltimore, in Harlem. I have not heard the politicians talk with that passion and dedication where there start talking about cutting off fingers if they back away from the community and sell out. What’s going on there?

Howard Franklin: That’s crazy. That’s crazy.

Jamarlin Martin: You have someone who knows about AIPAC, who’s had tea with AIPAC. That sounds kind of far out there.

Howard Franklin: I didn’t read that story, but that’s when I’ve got to go back and look up. That’s crazy. But let me just say Jamarlin. I think you’re right. We haven’t heard politicians of this ilk make that sort of pronouncement in the past. I hope we don’t hear him making it in the future either. I hope that this story, although I don’t think it must have gotten wide circulation because I had not heard that story. I wonder whether or not there are others pandering to different subsets of the political apparatus. Right. And again, my point isn’t to say that some of this stuff isn’t wrong. It is to acknowledge that it’s happening and if we’re going to be a part of this ecosystem, we need to open our eyes and to engage. And I’d love to hear, you talked about this gauntlet and how it is going to suppress the Black agenda, the Black American agenda. And I’m just curious, if we’re not engaging…

Jamarlin Martin: I’m just saying that AIPAC is a critical piece of the swamp system in terms of the monopoly board. The bigger picture. It’s not just AIPAC for sure. However, they are a critical piece of a system that dilutes the equity of the Black voter who may not have the resources and the connections.

03:54 —Howard Franklin: Let me give you a better example, so I told you I started a company focused on the southeastern United States. In Georgia we’ve got five democratic out of 14 congresspeople. Four of them or African Americans, but in most of our neighboring states, Louisiana, Alabama, South Carolina, Tennessee, Mississippi, you have one democratic Congress member for the entire state. You talk about diluting Black political power. That’s where it is, right? It’s not because we’ve got Jewish brothers and sisters in Mississippi holding on to congressional seats, or in Alabama.

Jamarlin Martin: It is. Hold on. If Jewish voters…

Howard Franklin: In the states I just noted.

Jamarlin Martin: Not necessarily your states. Broadly speaking, if the Jewish voter is going to say, I’m going to throw away all justice claims within the progressive wing of the Democratic Party, I’m going to throw away a lot of the critical issues that Black Democrats care about. I will throw that away. If you guys move away from Israel, you’re in our way. If you take that position, if people speak out and defend a hundred Palestinians being murdered or they don’t want war with Iran, and if you’re going to say, hey, I’m going to look at those issues and throw the Black community’s concerns away and I’ll vote for Desantis or vote for a Republican because they’re banging for Israel, you are in our way.

Howard Franklin: I respect that perspective. Again, I’m 18, 19 years in the end is in this business. I’m not going to take a single affiliation and say you did this because of that. Right? The same way I’m not going to go bang for Herman Cain because we happen to fly the same colors.

Jamarlin Martin: You know Herman Cain?

Howard Franklin: I met him. I don’t know him, but I know it’s politics well enough and I’ve seen him as both the radio shock jock and a politician. We’re divergent on a number of issues. Someone might say, that’s your guy, that’s your Morehouse brother. Now, Cedric Richmond wants to say, you know, here’s what I stand for. I know him well enough that I could stand up for his issues and I’ve seen him in action. My only concern is that I don’t want to paint people with a broad brush, but I respect where you’re coming from. I think that the bigger issue is that it’s tough to criticize or to throw stones when you’re not fully in the game.

Jamarlin Martin: Yeah, that’s what I’m saying. I take issue, we’re coming…

Howard Franklin: Let me just say, we’ve got a Congressional Black Caucus. I’ve been going to CBC for 10 years. I’ve enjoyed it. I’ve made friends. I’ve forged partnerships. I’ve developed business. What I haven’t seen in the 10 years or so that I’ve been going, and I don’t want to pretend I go to every salon or plenary session. I haven’t seen a singular, compelling Black American agenda arise from that weekend in September that we can all walk away with and say, by the time we get back here next year, we’ll have ticked these things off the list. I can’t be mad at other organizations, whether they’re ethnic or otherwise, business or otherwise for pursuing their agenda within the confines of this country, when my people aren’t leading us to pursue ours, which is why I’m here. Right? So it’s not just about corporate advocacy.

Jamarlin Martin: I get the point of view. Let’s talk about Beto. Okay. So Beto came out and he’s shocked a lot of people. He said, Netanyahu was racist. Okay. If Netanyahu is racist, let’s say Beto’s correct. If he’s racist, then when did he become racist? And here’s where I’m going. Hillary Clinton, one of the most amazing things that she said where she took risk and just put the truth out there during her campaign against Trump, she said that a lot of the Trump supporters are a basket of deplorables. So she told the truth that a lot of these Trump supporters, they’re supporting him because they are racist. They are white supremacists and they fear losing power. She called them a basket of deplorables. She didn’t go after Trump, which is the easy way. If she was going after Trump, that’s an easy cop out. Oh, it’s just Trump and these people are fine. But she said all these people backing him after saying all these racist statements, the birtherism, the Mexican brothers and sisters, the brown brothers and sisters are rapists. And these people who support a guy like that, thy’re a basket of deplorables. So she held the Trump supporters accountable. Okay. So if Netanyahu is a racist, and as you point out, the election is being held today. If Israel decides to go with a racist Netanyahu, what are we talking about here? If the state of Israel is banging for a racist, if they’re banging for a leader who represents and promotes racist policies, we have to take a step back and say, “Look, this partnership that you’re saying that has always existed, and our humanity, it’s just not about race, this is about humanity. Our humanity won’t allow us. This is where that Black AIPACers are going to be crushed. The humanity in Black America is not going to allow the group to move over to support a Netanyahu regime in Israel.

09:54 —Howard Franklin: You know, three years ago I might have agreed with you, but most of what you just said could describe our president and our country today.

Jamarlin Martin: That’s what I’m saying is the hypocrisy.

Howard Franklin: But I don’t think those people are out there banging for Trump. They’re not saying, hey, we want Trump to be reelected in 2020.

Jamarlin Martin: Let me clarify my point. Okay, so what I’m saying is that Hillary Clinton held the Trump supporters accountable. And so Beto, I didn’t give you the full statement. What he said was, Netanyahu is racist but we’re not going to allow this individual to mess up our relationship. He doesn’t reflect the Jewish people. I say, Hey that’s a little courageous statement Beto that you said because a lot of people are scared to make that statement. There’s a lot at stake if you say that. But it’s a cute trick to try to separate Netanyahu from the majority of the voters in Israel. You’re trying to say that Netanyahu is bad and the voting majority most likely, if he wins, are good and it’s just Netanyahu. And what I would say is that we need leaders who can be consistent. So if we’re saying that Trump voters, Trump supporters are a basket of deplorables, that we’ve got to hold them accountable, a lot of them are racists, then there’s a basket of deplorables in Israel supporting Netanyahu.

11:28 —Howard Franklin: I think there’s a difficulty here. So you almost have to bifurcate this argument. You’ve got to say there is a class of people who have to the word you used, the luxury to be in a plush studio debating geopolitics on a Tuesday afternoon ti even have this conversation. We are not representative of the vast majority of American people. And so when we have these discussions that require nuance and require context, not things you can just pick up and read in the front page of your newspaper, but things that require history and insight. They’re going to be difficult rallying points for a presidential election, for a congressional election, for mayoral election. Right? The vast majority of folks won’t be able to say, I know that Netanyahu has served four terms as president, that he’s lost and he’s won, that he’s up for his fifth term. That a luxury that people having this discussion can enjoy, but I don’t know how useful it is in the context of a presidential primary with 20 candidates. Right. No one is gonna parse. I think it’s an important point you’re making, but I don’t think the vast majority of the electorate can parse through these statements and make a decision on Beto O’Rourke on this basis. Right? They’re going to say, if I’m voting for him, it’s going to be on the basis of identity politics or geographic policy or issues that I care about, etc. And rarely would they rise to the level where this would be a deciding factor. So I guess I’m not saying that these aren’t important. I’m just saying I’ve got a separate what’s true from what’s credible, what I can do something with versus what I’ve got to save for another day.

Jamarlin Martin: Let me frame it differently. If the people of Israel say, we’re rolling with Netanyahu, I don’t care what you say. They’ve been rolling with him for a while. This would be his fourth..

Howard Franklin: Fifth term.

Jamarlin Martin: Fifth term as prime minister. You got me thinking that AIPAC may have sent you in here.

Howard Franklin: I know my history.

Jamarlin Martin: So this would be his fifth term. Israel is rolling with Netanyahu. This is his fifth crack at the apple, so it is not realistic to say Netanyahu just became racist, meaning that now people are openly saying that we can’t defend the racism anymore. Beto is out there campaigning, calling him a racist. If he is a racist and this is his fifth time as leader, that’s not reflective of the will of the people? That doesn’t make any sense to me.

Howard Franklin: I’m not sure. Let me just be clear. I don’t know enough about the policies that would put him in a different class of politician, but I do know that we had a presidential election here just two and a half short years ago and the majority of voters voted for somebody else and yet the guy in the office still sits there and he said both as a candidate and as the occupant of the White House, plenty of deplorable, racist, homophobic, xenophobic statements, disrespectful statements. Again, I’m not taking with your, if the discussion was how can we impact geopolitics so that it will somehow boomerang back and uplift and empower Black people, I’d have to sit back and think about that. If you were like, Hey, what’s the straightest and most direct line to implementing a Black American agenda, It starts at home and I just have not seen any evidence of Netanyahu or anyone else erecting barriers to the things that we need to do for ourselves.

Jamarlin Martin: I see it as connected. So let’s take Cory Booker. So Cory booker says, Hey, or the Congressional Black Caucus, we’re going to work on a Black agenda here domestically, but we’re banging for Netanyahu. Okay. And so if other groups have equity in our leaders, if other groups have ownership equity in our leaders, where our leaders have to answer to people outside of the community, outside of the voters. If they got to go and kiss the ring, you have to be a fool if you think a Black agenda is going to be a rock solid or the best that it can be. Because if you have leaders who are in these high seats, the Cory Bookers, the Kamala Harris and other folks, if you have a Black agenda, you’re going to have to work with them, right? You’re going to have to work with them. But if we are to think that this is going to be a pure process, this is going to be a healthy process, this is going to be an objective and effective process. We don’t want leaders who will say that, hey, I’m going to bang against Donald Trump and MAGA because that’s popular, it’s not threatening. A Democrat going against Donald Trump. That’s cool. Nope, you’re not threatening the system. A Black politician saying that, but the same politician will defend or stay silent on the MAGA in Israel. And so it calls into question. That’s what I’m saying is I believe that you have to deal with the swamp and it’s not just AIPAC, it’s not just this for sure.

17:10 —Howard Franklin: Let me just say I agree with you, but the two people you’re pointing out, let’s be clear, they’re the junior senators from their states. The Congressional Black Caucus has been around for 50-plus years. I want to say CBC is older than the State of Israel. At least it’s being recognized formally as a country. I can’t take 50 years of legislative policy and dealmaking and boil it down to two junior senators. Right. I don’t know that they can carry the water. And the beauty of this is we have 50 caucuses and primaries over the next 18 months to decide who gets to be the standard bearer. So running for president is a self-selecting exercise. You or I can do it right? We’re American citizens, we’re over 35 years old. So the fact that they’re on the stage isn’t the end of the show and it’s the prelude and we still have a long time to vet their policies and their affiliations. And I think the way you put it is a meaningful and thoughtful way to put it. You’re talking about people having purchased or derived equity in our leadership, but I think we’re at a break point, we’re going to decide, is this person going to be our leader? Cause Kamala is a leader in California and Cory is a leader in New Jersey. We’ve got a year and a half to see if they can be a leader of the entire United States.

Jamarlin Martin: Okay, so let’s go deeper into what I would call swampology, the science of the swamp. Are you aware of a trick that the swamp uses where based on legal restrictions, the congress person, they can’t directly receive value from the swamp, directly from the swamp. Obviously that would be a red flag, right? So the swamp can get in the door through the spouse or partner. And so there’s instances where quite a few of the powerful people in the Democratic Party where there were millions, Pelosi, Feinstein, Maxine waters. There’s a lot of millionaires in the Democratic Party.

Howard Franklin: There’s a lot of millionaires in Congress.

Jamarlin Martin: Yes, but I’m going to focus on the Democratic Party. Are you aware of a swamp kind of practice where how some of these congress people become wealthy? Going into politics, you don’t get a big salary. How do you have all this money? How do you guys have all these big houses? And so the swamp and the politician, realizing the criminal exposure possibly of a direct link, like our brother in Louisiana who got caught with money in the freezer. Jefferson. That you channel the swamp funds to the spouse or a kid or something else that that doesn’t go directly. Are you familiar with a systemic problem with that?

20:27 —Howard Franklin: I think anywhere you collect money and power, people will find ways legal or otherwise.

Jamarlin Martin: You’re aware that that’s a trick?

Howard Franklin: Absolutely. I’m aware of it. I have this conversation. I used to play poker with a group of guys and they did all kinds of things, all sorts of professions. And they gave me the hardest time about being a lobbyist and being in politics. And what I often said to them was that you guys want me at the table. If you guys think it’s bad right now, and that’s with me watching our backs and trying to advocate for things that we care about. Just imagine if I said what you guys were saying, which is I’m throwing my hands up, I’m gonna push back from the table. I’m not going to engage. I think any place where there’s an opportunity for corruption, for enriching oneself, corporate America, the church, plenty of other institutions in American and global life, none of them had been without scandals. So I take issue with holding out politics, especially, and I appreciate what you’re saying. This is the one institution that is held up by the people, right? Our votes are supposed to have a sanctity. We’re supposed to be electing people who are reflective of our values and our visions, but every institution in American life has had some crisis of corruption at some point or another. So I can’t put it in a separate box.

Jamarlin Martin: Do you find it problematic that Pelosi would be looking at Facebook in big issues with Facebook, but her family is of course wealthy, husband is wealthy, they own millions of dollars of Facebook stock. But as a citizen…

Howard Franklin: That doesn’t sit well with me.

Jamarlin Martin: That doesn’t sit well with you? That’s a big issue.

Howard Franklin: I mean we’ve got a president whose tax returns we haven’t seen.

Jamarlin Martin: This is another problem I have with a lot of you Democrats. Donald Trump is not the bar. Don’t lower the bar. A lot of people are though. A lot of people are saying, hey, this person’s better than Donald Trump. Look at him. He raped women and he did this. He did that.

Howard Franklin: That’s not my point, my point is to say that we don’t really have in many instances the rules and regulations that would prevent this sort of thing from happening. Right. I think the only reason that you could suggest that Donald is the bar is because he has more power as the president. Right. The speaker obviously has plenty of power as well. I don’t mean to denigrate her responsibility to mislead or to take advantage of her perch as a member of Congress and the speaker of the house. I totally agree.

Jamarlin Martin: Okay, so the first swamp trick we we covered was the corporate or special interest delivering value to the spouse, to an affiliate, to a kid and the corruption is channelled that way to get around the laws. Now another trick would be, while I’m in office, I’m going to think about my future career. When I’m voting on things or I’m dealing with legislation and dealing with the lobbyists and all that stuff, I got to think about, I could be voted out. I got to think about, hey, I didn’t get in this game just to be a politician. Once I leave government, I’m going to get paid. I’m going to get a lot of money once I leave office. So historically, a lot of folks, once they leave government, once they leave office, they go to Wall Street. Goldman Sachs is going to hire you. JP Morgan may hire you. So they would call it the revolving door. So you leave office and you sacrifice for that smaller check. You can get paid more. But I know the longterm game. So if I get these connections in Washington, I get connected with lobbyists and all these people, I’m going to get big dollars when I leave because I’m gonna go work for Wall Street. Okay. Hear me out. That has changed a bit where the power has shifted to tech in Silicon Valley. So there were several reports of, of course, a lot of Obama officials, some went to Wall Street, that’s the how the game works. But a lot of them went to Silicon Valley.

24:49 —Howard Franklin: I would tell you the ones that I know are still in the trenches, fighting on campaigns.

Jamarlin Martin: That’s true. The majority, they may not have gone.

Howard Franklin: And I think you got to think about this. I listened to a podcast with Valerie Jarrett just the other day. And in it she talks about having joined the boards of Lyft and some other companies.

Jamarlin Martin: Eric Holder, he’s getting paid by Uber. He was getting paid at Airbnb, I believe.

Howard Franklin: Yeah, you may be right about that. But all that to say, some of these folks already had careers at the pinnacle of their respective professions beforehand. I’m not going to begrudge, when you say a trick, I’m not sure I can acknowledge this as a trick, right? I think there are rules in place. It could be tighter.

Jamarlin Martin: You don’t have to use it. You can use something else…

Howard Franklin: There are rules in place that say take a quiet period. You can’t come back and lobby your former colleagues. And what’s to say if I worked here on Tuesday, that on Wednesday I couldn’t be thinking about what happens when a year from now or five years from now when I move onto my next role. So I’m not taking issue with what you’re saying, but I don’t know that this is the most addressable or the most important.

Jamarlin Martin: It’s something that the voter needs to be aware of. It’s something that’s not clean in terms of, hey, if people are going to be making political decisions that impact kids, that impact the water that we drink, that impact our health.

Howard Franklin: I totally agree with you.

Jamarlin Martin: That impact our privacy. That person needs to be focused 100 percent on the people. If that person is thinking about making big dollars when they get out and that taints their decisions, that’s not the system that you want to promote.

Howard Franklin: But let just say, now we’re talking about thought crimes. Right? Now we’re saying while Jamarlin was casting his vote, I know somehow that he was negotiating his next role or thinking about how it might impact his next ability to provide for his family. I think a more useful juncture for this conversation is to say if you vote against things that are a part of our agenda, we’re voting against you. Period. Point blank. I could care less about what you got set up next, who you did it for or why you did it. What I need. And I think what we started this conversation talking about was a litmus test on the issues we care about. And for whatever reason, politicians diverge from it. We’ve got something formed. But once you get into the place where you’re saying it was because of this or it was in lieu of or expectation of that, it’s going to muddle it. I wish we had an electorate who could sit for an hour and a half through a conversation as wide ranging as this one about geopolitics and D.C. Lobbyists. But at the end of the day, you and I both know, kitchen table issues, public safety, the state of the economy are going to drive the winners and losers at the ballot box.

Jamarlin Martin: First, let me say that you’re starting to see a regulatory spread. In Europe, their regulations on Facebook, Google, Amazon, it’s very pro-citizen, pro-consumer. Let’s think about the consumer first. So they have significantly cracked down and fined and policed Facebook, Google, Amazon, who are now of course the power brokers or play a key role in terms of the power brokering of the economy. So there’s a regulatory spread developing where weak tech regulations in the United States, stronger regulations in the European Union and in India, who stopped Facebook’s Basics program, smartly stopped Facebook coming in there with so-called free Internet with the colonialist mentality. You’re starting to see other countries that don’t have the amount of corruption and lobbying as the United States. They have a different viewpoint on how to regulate tech. Right. And so, do you think that the cozy relationship between the Obama administration and Silicon Valley big tech, that had something to do with the regulatory silence for eight years under Obama, where you have Mark Zuckerberg saying, “Hey, we’ve got to move fast, break things. We’ve got to collect all this data. We’re doing all this stuff with the stuff. We’re selling this, we’re selling that. We’re doing whatever we want.” But Zuckerberg knows Obama, they’re like political homeys or whatever, right? Booker, he’s been connected with Eric Schmidt at Google, they invested in his startup company that he sold. So Cory Booker, Obama, even Kamala Harris connecting with Sheryl Sandberg at Facebook, there’s real coziness between big tech in Silicon Valley and the Democratic Party establishment. Do you believe that that coziness factored in to this regulatory silence that ended up hurting a lot of people in terms of the lack of regulation?

30:15 —Howard Franklin: I’m not sure I can speak to the harm, right. I agree with you that the E.U. and countries in Europe and in that neck of the woods are doing what America needs a turn its attention towards doing. But the same way that Elizabeth Warren can make a proposal that gets everybody up in arms about potential breaking up some of the larger Internet based companies or the same way an AOC, a freshman member of Congress can drop a green new deal and have everybody talking about it. For those reasons, it’s difficult for me to fathom a conspiracy where three or four people you mentioned could stop 535 members from making an issue. Let me just say, Barack Obama had two years of control of a congress out of an eight-year stint in the White House. The other six years he was getting his ass kicked by the Congress, right? It wasn’t him dictating for them an agenda. It was him trying to hold onto Obamacare. It was him trying to use executive power to advance his agenda. I can almost buy this if Nancy Pelosi had been speaker for eight years, he had been president, we had the Senate, then I could say, okay, let me blame the Democrats. But that wasn’t the case. So Republicans could have done exactly what you’re talking about.

Jamarlin Martin: So you’re telling me that Barack Obama is going to get elected by banging on Wall Street, banging on Hillary Clinton taking money from pharmaceutical companies.

Howard Franklin: I said no such thing.

Jamarlin Martin: Obama said, “Hey, I’m going to bang against Wall Street. I’m going to bang against lobbyists.” Hillary Clinton is more connected to Wall Street special interests. There’s videos you can see Barack Obama campaigning on this stuff. He’s banging on lobbying and special interests and he’s to the left of Hillary Clinton, who he’s positioning as an establishment candidate. Okay? So Obama was elected, Lehman Brothers, Bear Stearns, stuff is falling apart and he has a blame, right? It’s the Wall Street. It’s the lobbyists. They’re messing things up and now we’ve got the financial crisis. Okay, that’s how he’s framing things in so many words. Power and wallets shift from Wall Street to tech, Silicon Valley. It’s shifted, right? So there’s more regulations on Wall Street who tend to vote more Republican. So we’re going to slap some more regulation on Wall Street, which was needed, but with tech and the stuff moving so fast, we don’t care about that stuff. Hold on, hear me out. We don’t care about that stuff. We’re not speaking about, hey, there’s a risk that the same greed that explains the rise of Wall Street, that you’re going to see the same stuff that can hurt the people in Silicon Valley. But I’m just saying that you’re telling me that the coziness of Democratic Party leaders with Silicon Valley has nothing to do with the regulatory silence over the eight years. Let me just give you this last thing.

33:21 —Howard Franklin: Okay.

Jamarlin Martin: Chuck Schumer, he told Mark Warner, a senator, to back off looking at investigating Facebook. Chuck Schumer is, I guess, friends with Mark Zuckerberg, Sheryl Sandberg. Chuck Schumer’s daughter reportedly works at Facebook. He’s telling the senator who wants to investigate Facebook to back off. Why would he tell the senator to back off Facebook? His daughter works there. He’s connected to the big people at Facebook. That’s the swamp. So I’m just saying that it is wrong to think that the Republicans just do bad things and it’s the Republicans. This swamp that’s in the Democratic Party that Chuck Schumer displayed in trying to protect his people, protect his friends at Facebook, his daughter’s employer reportedly. That’s not good.

Howard Franklin: Chuck Schumer has been in the Senate for nearly 30 years. He could get his daughter a job anywhere. Let me respond to what you’re saying.

Jamarlin Martin: But that goes to the swamp. What do you mean he can get his daughter a job anywhere? Why?

Howard Franklin: Well, because he has served in a high position in American government for a very long time. If you had been, if he had been the president of Facebook or of General Motors for that long, he would move in circles such that you could do the exact same thing. My point is different than the one you’re making.

Jamarlin Martin: Obama’s daughter going to work for Harvey Weinstein.

Howard Franklin: The point I would make here is that, I acknowledge some of the silence that we saw on regulating social media and technology companies. It’s been deafening, no question.

Jamarlin Martin: But why?

Howard Franklin: Well, what I would tell you as someone who’s worked in government for a very long time. I think you would acknowledge, if you’ve had any experience with government, local, federal or otherwise, government is slow to move. Government is not on the bleeding edge of decision-making. Government is not ahead of culture or ahead of business. Right? I think in some ways government just gets caught with its pants down. It wasn’t ready. I’ll give you another good example. We in Atlanta and in cities around the country are dealing with something you guys are familiar with here, which is the proliferation of e-scooters, right? I assume you guys are familiar. You’ve got all these e-scooters popping up everywhere. People are riding out in the right of ways on streets, on freeways, etc. My local government has been working for more than a year, trying to figure out how to put together a regulatory framework to keep people safe, to keep people riding where they’re supposed to and out of places they’re not supposed to. But the problem is technology moves faster than the speed of government. So I’m not giving the Obama Administration a pass for at least being more curious about how we should look at regulating some of these companies.

Jamarlin Martin: His friends?

36:45 —Howard Franklin: I think the problem is that you’ve got to acknowledge that, if you’re going to climb to the highest heights of elected government, not just in America, but anywhere on this globe, you’re going to have friends from different places, right? People are going to show up with a check in hand with the public policy requests in their back pocket and they’re going to make their case, and it’s going to be up to you to decide whether or not you’re going to support those folks. I can’t get past the responsibility of the voters. You’re telling me you want voters to factor geopolitics into the decision-making. If they can do that, then they can also make a determination about whether Barack Obama deserves eight years in the White House or whether the congress was active and aggressive enough in regulating these companies.

Jamarlin Martin: Well, let me say this. In theory if the officials at Facebook and Google and Amazon, if they’re pure in intentions and they say, hey look, the politicians, they have a very low tech IQ. They don’t know anything about tech.

Howard Franklin: You saw those hearings, right?

Jamarlin Martin: Yeah. So we need to educate the politicians on how the game works, right? If their intentions were pure, like, hey we are masters at this stuff, the algorithms, a lot of stuff. And there needs to be communication between the tech companies and the politicians where the politicians understand how the stuff works so they can be more intelligent about their legislation. Okay. And the issues. But what we’ve seen in the last eight years is they spend all this time cozying up with big tech in Silicon Valley, but in the hearings they’re dumb still. So that’s telling you right there that when you look at those politicians who are cozy with big tech and Silicon Valley, they are dumb and don’t know what’s going on, which is dangerous. So all that coziness was for what? And for who?

38:51 —Howard Franklin: I think, as someone who just bought his Mom an iPhone a month ago, I just got to acknowledge some of this is generational, right? I’m sure my kids will be playing with some toys 10 years from now that they’ll have to school me on that I won’t have grown up with. They won’t be native to me that I won’t have an intrinsic understanding of. This is not an excuse. The members of those committees we’ve seen as they’ve interviewed Mark Zuckerberg and others. Zuckerberg in particular was really painful. These people have hundreds of thousands of dollars of staffers behind them. They’ve got all sorts of research and other resources. They should have come more prepared to have a discussion about what regulatory framework could be imposed upon a company like Facebook. I totally agree, right? But we only have one remedy for all of this stuff. It’s to get rid of the people that we think are underperforming in their roles. That’s it. All the talk, all the advocacy, acknowledging that there’s these pipes in this swamp that’s already been built to insulate and protect these elected officials and others, acknowledge that the most powerful tool, the only real leverage and you can’t take away, is the ability to revoke their ability to sit on this dais. Right? That’s it. I don’t know another way to box them in or to make them make better decisions.

Jamarlin Martin: This is my interview with Howard Franklin. Be sure to tune into the next episode for part three. Thanks everybody for listening to GHOGH. You can check me out @JamarlinMartin on Twitter and also come check us out at Moguldom.com. That’s M O G U L D O M.com. Be sure to subscribe to our daily newsletter. You can get the latest information on crypto, tech, economic empowerment and politics. Let’s GHOGH!