New Investigation: Exposing the Bubble Barons

Today, in partnership with AlterNet, we are launching a new investigation of the class of American super-rich we’ve deemed the Bubble Barons, “a select group of American multi-billionaires who saw astronomic gains in wealth during the housing bubble, and who so far have evaded all accountability in the midst of the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.” Read the full AlterNet article introducing the project.

We’ve identified 67 bubble barons to target with our investigation. Drawing from Forbes’ lists of the wealthiest Americans for the past ten years, we selected individuals who were worth $2 billion or more (multi-billionaires); whose business activities are mainly in the real estate and finance sectors; and who saw significant gains in net worth over the past ten years (50% or more). Who are they? How have they made their money? Where have they invested it? How have they spent it? Who are their spouses, their friends, their closest business partners?

Join the Bubble Barons research group to help find out!

From the AlterNet piece, a brief explanation of how this will work:

You will be asked to adopt a bubble baron and find out as much as you can about that individual. Which companies has he worked at, founded or owned? Which boards does he sit on? Where does he invest his money? Does he make charitable donations? If so, to whom? Where did he go to school? Who are his closest professional associates and business partners? Who is he married to?

You can find a more extensive research checklist here. I will also be running several trainings for new analysts. Specific times and call-in information will be sent out in an email later today. You can also reach me by note if you have questions.

In past (and ongoing) investigations, LittleSis analysts have compiled lists of healthcare lobbyists, dug deep into the Chamber of Commerce’s networks, and mapped Bay Area power structures. Most recently, a small group of analysts, including destructor, priscilla, sundin, leia, and bob, profiled 250 of the most powerful visitors to the Obama White House.

It’s high time the bubble barons got the investigation they deserve.  Let’s hold them accountable!