Geithner's Second Move Not So Good

| Tue Jan. 27, 2009 10:31 AM PST

Give me a break. Last week, we heard that Obama's revolving door restrictions (which I applauded) would be bypassed for the new No. 2 man in the DOD, who as recently as 2008 had been chief lobbyist for Raytheon, a massive defense contractor.

Now we're hearing that Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner is making a recent lobbyist for Goldman Sachs named Mark Patterson his chief of staff. Less than a year ago, Patterson was going to Congress and the Treasury to pimp Goldman's interests. Now he'll play a pivotal role in handing out TARP funds to Goldman and others. How is this not an obviously impermissible conflict?

What makes this so bizarre is that Geithner just banned the use of TARP funds for lobbying purposes. (He literally did this earlier this morning.) He understands the... unhelpful role that lobbying can play when trying to make solid, untainted policy that is in the best interest of the public. And yet, somehow, he's decided to make Patterson his chief of staff. And somehow, Obama is letting him.

How many waivers until the revolving door rules become meaningless? And why issue rules in the first place if the administration has the right to disobey them whenever it deems necessary?

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