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Failed Silicon Valley Bank's woke board consisted predominantly of Democratic geriatrics, included Obama and Clinton acolytes
Photo Illustration by Andrea Ronchini/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Failed Silicon Valley Bank's woke board consisted predominantly of Democratic geriatrics, included Obama and Clinton acolytes

Silicon Valley Bank is under intense scrutiny after it collapsed last week, prompting the Biden administration to stage what some have called a "de facto bailout of the banking system."

While it is clear that many of the bank's depositors were affluent leftists like California Gov. Gavin Newsom and wealthy tech magnates, a new report has revealed its aged board, which reportedly satisfied racial and sexual DEI criteria, also had strong links to the Democratic Party.

Blue-toned dozen

The New York Post reported that SVB's 12 directors — the same who failed to help keep the bank from going bust — are all, with one exception, over the age of 60. While uniformly gray, the board nevertheless has DEI bona fides. In a 2022 proxy statement, SVB boasted that 45% of the board are women, one member was "LGBTQ+," and one member was black.

While ostensibly diverse, at least by its own standards, the board appears to share more than memories of the mid-20th century in common.

According to the Post, board members and the bank's PAC donated to former President Barack Obama, failed presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, and President Joe Biden, as well as to various Democrats in California, such as Reps. Nancy Pelosi, Maxine Waters, and Zoe Lofgren.

SVB's directors also threw cash to Democrats farther afield, including Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.), a longtime member of the impactful Senate Banking Committee. Democrats like Sens. Raphael Warnock (Ga.) and John Fetterman (Pa.) and Rep. Adam Schiff (Calif.) received individual contributions from the SVB Financial Group.

In recent years, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer received the maximum individual contribution from SVB CEO Greg Becker, who similarly donated to Biden's campaign in 2020. Schumer's campaign received thousands more from the bank's PAC, reported CNBC. Schumer's office said Tuesday he has given the donations to charity, in the face of mounting pressure and amid suggestions that Democrats' recent insistence on buttressing the failing bank was a matter of helping their own.

Democrat federal candidates received 100% of the bank's PAC contributions between 2021 and 2022.

Open Secrets, a nonprofit watchdog that tracks money in U.S. politics, revealed that going back to at least 2002, the bank majoritively donated to Democrats: 79.71% of all individual contributions went to Democrats in 2022; 92.65% went to Democrats in 2020; 69.79% in 2018; and 82.13% in 2016. Individuals at the bank gave $188,938 in 2020 alone, almost all of which went, again, to Democrats.

One insider told the Post, "Everyone knew it was the go-to bank for woke CEOs. ... They knew they were aligned politically. The companies SVB loaned money to all had a woke agenda."

According to the Claremont Institute's BLM Funding Database, SVB also contributed $73,450,000 to the BLM movement and related identitarian Marxist causes.

Clinton acolytes

Director Kate Mitchell is a 64-year-old Hillary Clinton mega-donor who bragged ahead of the 2016 presidential election that nearly all big tech donations had gone to Clinton. At the time, Mitchell, co-founder of Scale Venture Partners and former National Venture Capital Association diversity task force czar, told NBC News, "Ninety-seven percent support of Clinton is mindblowing and really suggests that we're pounding the table."

After spending $50,000 on her candidate, only to watch the former secretary of state suffer a historic loss to former President Donald Trump, Mitchell told CNBC she had to flee the country.

At a Shinto shrine in Kyoto, Japan, Mitchell said she "prayed for me and us to get beyond our grieving and shock and to figure out how to engage and listen to what happened and come back together."

It is unclear whether Mitchell will revisit that Kyoto shrine in the wake of her latest defeat.

In the meantime, the Post noted that notwithstanding her involvement in the greatest American bank failure in 15 years, she continues to give advice at the Rock Center for Corporate Governance at Stanford Law School.

Garen K. Staglin, 78, also on the SVB board of directors, may not have flown to Kyoto in 2016, but he similarly bet big and lost on Clinton.

The Post noted that Staglin, the owner of a vineyard not far from Pelosi's lavish estate, donated $10,000 to the Biden Victory Fund in 2020; donated $54,000 to Clinton's Hillary Victory Fund in 2016 "on top of $25,000 the previous year"; spent $35,800 backing Obama in 2011; and shoveled $10,000 into the Democratic National Committee's coffers in 2022.

Staglin also is a proud Pelosi donor.

Obama's under secretary

Mary J. Miller, 67, former under secretary for domestic finance in the U.S. Department of Treasury, is also on the board. This Obama nominee ran for election as mayor of Baltimore in 2020, but lost in the Democratic primary, claiming only 15.6% of the vote.

Miller was on the New Republic's 2011 list of "Washington's Most Powerful, Least Famous People."

Fox Business reported that at the time of her appointment to the SVB Financial Group board of directors in May 2015, Miller suggested she brought with her the ability to "add unique perspective and insight."

She may have previously gleaned some insights in Washington, having helped implement the regulatory Dodd-Frank framework under which SVB still managed to fail and having managed the Financial Stability Oversight Council.

Woke and broke

TheBlaze previously reported that Home Depot co-founder Bernie Marcus suggested that the SVB's woke myopia and obsession with leftist issues, like LGBTQ+ activism and environmental alarmism, contra other issues, helped pave the way for the bank's collapse.

"These banks are badly run because everybody is focused on diversity and all of the woke issues and not concentrating on the one thing they should, which is shareholder returns," said Marcus.

"Instead of protecting the shareholders and their employees, they are more concerned about the social policies," Marcus added, "and I think [SVB is] probably a badly run bank."

Rep. James Comer (R-Ky.) appeared to share Marcus' opinion, telling Fox News Sunday that SVB was "one of the most woke banks in their quest for the ESG-type policy and investing."

Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) concurred, tweeting, "So these SVB guys spend all their time funding woke garbage ('climate change solutions') rather than actual banking and now want a handout from taxpayers to save them."

The bank's CEO and president Greg Becker wrote in a January DEI report, "SVB is committed to creating a more diverse, equitable, inclusive and accessible environment within SVB, within the innovation ecosystem, and in our communities. At the heart of this commitment is our effort to foster a more inclusive culture and increase racial, ethnic and gender representation within SVB."

While Becker committed to "breaking down systemic barriers," Marcus intimated the SVB CEO and the rest of the bank's leadership proved better suited to simply breaking down.

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Joseph MacKinnon

Joseph MacKinnon

Joseph MacKinnon is a staff writer for Blaze News.
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