Former President Barack Obama liked to portray himself as a politician watching out for the little guy.

But it looks like he spent much more time protecting his rich friends – and manipulating the government to help make them a fortune.

It was all part of a scheme that looks a lot like insider trading – or what author Peter Schweizer calls “smash and grab.”

In his new book, Secret Empires: How the American Political Class Hides Corruption and Enriches Family and Friends, Schweizer lays out how Obama used government regulations to help lifelong pals buy up companies for pennies on the dollar.

Basically, the Obama Administration would threaten and devalue companies, and Obama’s pals would be ready to swoop in and buy them on the cheap.

And apparently nobody ever stopped to consider the effect that this plot would have on ordinary shareholders – who lost millions – or the employees at the companies.

In an interview with Breitbart, Schweizer gives one shocking example – the case of Marty Nesbitt, who has been described as Obama’s “best friend.”

After Obama was reelected on 2012, Nesbitt set up a private equity firm called Vistria to invest in highly regulated industries – in other words, industries that Obama and his administration can help control.

Schweizer points to Vistria’s acquisition of online learning giant the University of Phoenix as an example of Obama and Nesbitt working together on a “smash and grab” deal.

The Obama Administration had threatened to withhold GI Bill money from the University of Phoenix over the quality of its education, sending its share price tumbling.

Then, Nesbitt and Vistria were able to purchase the university for “three cents on the dollar,” Schweizer reports.

After the deal was made, the Obama Administration withdrew its threat to withhold federal funds.

Schweizer says Obama repeated the strategy throughout his presidency to enrich liberal billionaires like Tom Steyer and George Soros, who have both worked to ruin current President Donald Trump.

“Barack Obama smashes coal companies, [and] what do these guys do? They go in, they buy them for pennies on the dollar, and when the regulatory weight is lifted, their valuations increase, and they make a lot of money, and you see that pattern in all of these industries,” Shweizer said.

And what happens to other shareholders – the ones who aren’t friends with Obama? They’re left holding the bag when the companies are devalued.

Schweizer says that some of the ill-gotten gains realized by Obama’s friends eventually found their way to the Obama Foundation.

It’s a scheme that absolutely cries out for a federal investigation. But with so many Obama puppets still left in the government, we won’t be holding our breath.