The Most Influential Business in America
By Peter Carbonara

(MONEY Magazine) – There's an elite Wall Street firm that has embedded itself in America's power structure, in both the Republican and Democratic parties, with representatives in key decision-making positions in the White House, the Senate, the Treasury, the New York Stock Exchange and more. The firm is also the largest corporate contributor so far to the 2004 presidential contenders--on both sides of the aisle. This is no John Grisham novel: It's Goldman Sachs. --PETER CARBONARA


JOHN THAIN A technocrat who rose to CFO and then president, he left the firm in January to become chief executive of the scandal-scarred New York Stock Exchange.

HENRY PAULSON Goldman's current chairman is a former Pentagon staffer and Nixon aide. Filings show he earned $21 million in 2003, mostly in Goldman stock.

ROBERT RUBIN A former co-chair, and a Treasury Secretary under Bill Clinton, he's now a honcho at Citigroup and a loud critic of Bush's economic policies.

JON CORZINE Former co-chair spent $64 million of his riches to become a senator (D-N.J.). He once answered a skeptic: "Political neophyte? I worked at Goldman Sachs!"

STEPHEN FRIEDMAN Former co-chair is now chief economic adviser to Dubya. Note to careerists: Bob Rubin had the same job under Clinton before running the Treasury.

JOSHUA BOLTEN Once a Goldman bigwig in its London office, he was named director of the Office of Management and Budget last year. He worked for the first George Bush too.