Known as “Interbank” and “Master Charge” from its 1966 founding through 1979, Mastercard Incorporated is a multinational financial services corporation headquartered in Purchase, New York. It was created by an alliance of several California banks to compete against the Bank of America’s BankAmericard, which later became the Visa credit card issued by Visa Inc. Mastercard’s principal business activity is to process the credit- and debit-card payments of purchasers across the globe.
Mastercard’s leadership team includes a number of individuals who feel a deep affinity for Democratic and leftist causes, coupled with a low regard for conservatism. The company’s President and Chief Executive Officer since 2010 has been Ajay Banga, who previously served as the CEO of Citigroup Asia Pacific and is a longtime member of the Council on Foreign Relations. Banga gave $22,300 to the Democratic National Committee in 2016. He also has donated money to the political campaigns of such Democrat luminaries as Charles Schumer, Kirsten Gillibrand, and Hillary Clinton.
Banga’s ties to the Clintons are particularly noteworthy. In 2006, for instance, he pledged to give $5.5 million to the Clinton Global Initiative, the signature program of the Clinton Foundation. Ten years later, at a “Women in the World” Summit in New York City, Banga voiced support for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential bid. “You need women who lead countries,” he said. “I hope we have one soon. You can see where I’m going.”
Banga also has cultivated significant ties to former President Barack Obama, who in 2015 appointed him to serve on the Advisory Committee for Trade Policy and Negotiations. The following year, Obama named Banga to the Commission on Enhancing National Cybersecurity.
In April 2018, Michael Froman, who previously had held several executive positions at Citigroup and had served as a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, joined Mastercard as its Vice Chairman and President of Strategic Growth. Since 2001, he has made large political donations to high-profile Democrats like Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, Chris Dodd, Al Gore, John Kerry, Charles Schumer, and Barack Obama.
From 1993-95, Froman served in the Bill Clinton Administration as Director of International Economic Affairs for both the National Economic Council and the National Security Council. And from 1997-99, he was Chief of Staff in the Clinton Treasury Department.
Froman also has a close relationship with Barack Obama. The pair first met in the 1980s, when they both attended Harvard Law School and worked together on the Harvard Law Review. When Obama later decided to run for the U.S. Senate in 2004, Froman, according to Politico, “rallied immediately to the cause, advising and supporting the candidate as he was elected to represent the state of Illinois.” Two years after that, Froman served as an Advisory Board member for the Obama-Biden presidential transition team. From 2009-13, he was Assistant to the President in charge of international economic affairs. And from 2013-17, he held the title of U.S. Trade Representative, serving as Obama’s chief adviser and negotiator on international trade and investment issues.
Another major figure at Mastercard is Seth Eisen, who has been an executive with the company since 2010 – and its Senior Vice President of External Communications since 2016. In the aftermath of the August 2017 “Unite The Right” rally in Charlottesville, where a contingent of white nationalists clashed violently with Marxist-anarchists affiliated with Antifa, Eisen wrote that: (a) “we’ve been made aware of websites accepting our [Mastercard] products that could be considered as ‘hate groups’,” and (b) “we’re working with our acquirers to shut down the use of our cards on sites that make specific threats or incite violence.”
A year later, in August 2018, Mastercard announced that it had decided to stop processing all donations to the David Horowitz Freedom Center (DHFC), a conservative think tank whose mission is “to defend free societies which are under attack from enemies within and without” — most notably, enemies aiming to advance the agendas of the radical left and Islamic jihad. Mastercard took this action largely in response to pressure from the Southern Poverty Law Center and Color Of Change, both of which had recently designated DHFC as an organization that promoted “hate.” Thanks, in part, to numerous conservative organizations and media outlets that publicly condemned Mastercard’s action, the credit card company restored DHFC’s fundraising privileges within a few days.
Yet another key leader at Mastercard is board member Craig Calhoun, currently a Professor of Social Sciences at Arizona State University, and formerly the director of the London School of Economics and Political Science. He contributed to the 2013 book, Does Capitalism Have a Future? Therein, he wrote that capitalist development is commonly associated with ecological crisis, and that capitalist economies will have to transform dramatically if they are to have any chance of surviving.
Further Reading: “Hope U.S. Will Soon Have a Woman Leader: MasterCard CEO Banga” (Business Standard, 4-9-2016); “Obama Appoints MasterCard CEO Ajay Banga to Key Administration Post (Times of India, 4-14-2016); “Michael Froman” (Ballotpedia.org); “Michael Froman – Strategic Thinker” (Politico, 10-16-2013); “Mastercard Statement on the Use of our Network” (by Seth Eisen, 8-8-2017); “[DHFC] Declares Victory over Censorship Attempt” (8-27-2018).