Is it just me or is it kind of ironic – also brash and stupid – for Tim Geithner to hire a lobbyist who has worked on immigration reform issues as his chief of staff?
Shortly after facing questions about the immigration status of his former housekeeper, ABC News reports that Geithner’s new chief of staff was most recently a lobbyist for Goldman Sachs:
Patterson first began lobbying for Goldman Sachs in 2005, after working as policy director for then-Senate majority leader Tom Daschle. According to publicly filed lobbying disclosure records, he worked on issues related to the banking committee, climate change and carbon trading and immigration reform, among others.
According to the lobbying disclosure report, Patterson was the sole Goldman Sachs lobbyist on the issue of immigration reform in the first quarter of 2008.
This certainly looks like a strategic blunder, as one of Geithner’s major tasks right now is to win support for a stimulus bill that Republicans don’t seem to like very much. And based on how his confirmation vote went, he could stand to gain a few Republican friends (Goldman’s position on this issue is not compatible with that of Lou Dobbs and his followers).
Unsurprisingly, Patterson also lobbied on foreclosure prevention, predatory lending, mortgage reform, and other typical Wall Street issues. So Geithner has hired a real friend of the American public as his right-hand man. More disclosure filings are here and here, and check out his profile on LittleSis, which I just started building out.
What bothers me about this appointment, other than the fact that it is a nitwit move, is that Goldman is back at Treasury. David Sirota writes:
Sure, I guess it’s a step forward that the Treasury Secretary isn’t an immediate former top executive at Goldman Sachs, as Hank Paulson was. But clearly, Geithner – just a day after squeezing through the Senate confirmation process – is back to his old tricks. With the executive branch having czarist power to hand out bailout money to almost any corporation on any terms, and with the new administration saying there will likely be even more Wall Street bailouts in the future, Geithner seems – once again – ready to give one of the largest banks (and largest Obama campaign contributors) at the center of the economic meltdown a front-row seat in making sure our taxpayer dollars keep flowing to Wall Street.
With a Goldman lobbyist as his right-hand man, Geithner’s move to limit lobbyists’ influence over the bailout certainly looks a lot less impressive. No disclosure filings required.