Bloomberg has an article this morning that reads like a hard-hitting investigative journalism piece. It turns out they've uncovered that some of Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner's aides earned millions of dollars working for Wall Street banks. Bloomberg might also be shocked to learn that former Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson actually was the CEO of Wall Street behemoth Goldman Sachs, and consequently surrounded himself with his Wall Street kin as well. The fact that Geithner has drawn some talent from Wall Street is not surprising, newsworthy or even bad.
Here's Bloomberg's shocking news:
Some of Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner's closest aides, none of whom faced Senate confirmation, earned millions of dollars a year working for Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Citigroup Inc. and other Wall Street firms, according to financial disclosure forms.
The advisers include Gene Sperling, who last year took in $887,727 from Goldman Sachs and $158,000 for speeches mostly to financial companies, including the firm run by accused Ponzi scheme mastermind R. Allen Stanford. Another top aide, Lee Sachs, reported more than $3 million in salary and partnership income from Mariner Investment Group, a New York hedge fund.
As part of Geithner's kitchen cabinet, Sperling and Sachs wield influence behind the scenes at the Treasury Department, where they help oversee the $700 billion banking rescue and craft executive pay rules and the revamp of financial regulations. Yet they haven't faced the public scrutiny given to Senate-confirmed appointees, nor are they compelled to testify in Congress to defend or explain the Treasury's policies.
I have a few comments about this. First, what exactly is it that Bloomberg is proposing? Should every employee of the Treasury be confirmed by the Senate and testify in Congress? Clearly, that's madness. You have to draw the line somewhere, and the number of appointees already required to fulfill those obligations seems adequate.