Obama appoints another bailout piggy to economic post

posted at 9:24 am on January 29, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

Wasn’t this supposed to be the start of an era of competence and freedom from conflicts of interest in government?  After appointing lobbyists William Lynn and Mark Patterson to positions that they would have lobbied prior to their appointments, Obama has named a financial-service executive that applied for a bailout to be his deputy counsel on economic affairs:

President Barack Obama on Wednesday named a politically connected top executive of a financial services company that’s seeking federal bailout money to be his chief legal counsel on the economy, a move raising ethical concerns with watchdog organizations and casting a shadow on Obama’s campaign theme of change.

In a statement on Wednesday morning, Obama said he appointed Neal Wolin, division president of The Hartford Financial Services Group Inc., to become his deputy White House counsel for economic affairs. That makes Wolin the top legal adviser on economic issues.

The Hartford in mid-November purchased a Sanford, Fla., thrift — Federal Trust Bank — a move that allowed it to seek as much as $3.4 billion in Wall Street bailout money. On Nov. 14, it applied to become a thrift holding company entitled to between $1.1 billion and $3.4 billion in funds under the much-maligned Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP.

Patterson also worked for a bailed-out firm, the massively politically connected Goldman Sachs.  Now we get another executive from a politically-connected firm, and not even one that’s successful.  If we had to bail out Goldman Sachs and Hartford, it doesn’t exactly speak well of their economic acumen.  Why do we keep picking people from firms that couldn’t stand on their own?

Obama has started to worry some of the Hopier-and-Changier crowd with his serial violations of his own ethics rules.  This makes the third questionable appointment in nine days, transforming Obama’s violations of at least the spirit of his own ethics rules a pattern and not exceptions.  It’s not just the bailout, either.  Hartford also has lobbied on insurance regulation policy, pushing hard against the federal control that Obama promised in his campaign. CREW and other watchdogs have become restless, and it’s only the second week of the new administration.

Obama’s ethics policy would require Wolin to recuse himself on both the bailout and on insurance regulation, which makes people wonder what exactly Wolin would do as economic counsel.  Clip coupons?  Appointing Wolin, Patterson, and Lynn makes a mockery out of Obama’s vaunted ethics “reforms”, and also of his pledge to find the best and brightest to serve in Washington.


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Getting the popcorn ready right now. What time is Gibbzy starting the presser this morning?
It could be good as long as they call on Fox.

JeffinOrlando on January 29, 2009 at 9:28 AM

There He goes again with his “flinty Chicago toughness.”

Brat on January 29, 2009 at 9:29 AM

The Chicago way!

grapeknutz on January 29, 2009 at 9:30 AM

Let’s see if the Republicans keep their new momentum & oppose this porker.

jgapinoy on January 29, 2009 at 9:31 AM

Why do we keep picking people from firms that couldn’t stand on their own?

Thst’s the “Hope” Barry was speaking about. He hopes they they actually are successful working in government.
The “Change” is what they will take out of our pockets.

Words. Just Words.

kingsjester on January 29, 2009 at 9:32 AM

I think Obama’s realizing he has no idea how to do his job. He’s in so far over his head that he’s grasping for anyone who sounds like they know what they’re talking about and tell him what he wants to hear.

Bill Scrunty on January 29, 2009 at 9:32 AM

He is an impressive liar and the unequivocal king of doublespeak.

fiscallyconservative on January 29, 2009 at 9:33 AM

Do what I say and hope you don’t notice what I do.

Dr.Cwac.Cwac on January 29, 2009 at 9:33 AM

This all reminds me of Animal Farm in a way. You know how all animals were equal but it morphed into some are more equal than others.

No lobbyists…. except for useful lobbyists.

Oink on January 29, 2009 at 9:34 AM

Nothing like appointing tax cheaters and corporate officers who drive their businesses into bankruptcy to get our economy moving again.

I never seen anything like this before, so there’s no denying it’s a change just like Obarfy promised.

fogw on January 29, 2009 at 9:35 AM

He won. Quit all your whining. Obama knows what he’s doing.

Tommy_G on January 29, 2009 at 9:36 AM

I HOPE you morons who voted for me don’t see what I’m doing.

If you do, I’ll CHANGE the subject and blame Limbaugh for something.

Bishop on January 29, 2009 at 9:36 AM

h o p e y c h a n g e y

D2Boston on January 29, 2009 at 9:36 AM

hmm…..is he a puppet for Goldman Sachs? oh..no that’s George Soros holding those strings.

becki51758 on January 29, 2009 at 9:37 AM

The Peterson Principle is that you work up to the level of your incompetance… ie… your promoted until you do not do a good enough job to get further promotion…

This is the Obama Principal… if correctly connected, even after prooving a failure, we will promote you again…

His Press Sec keeps talking about Ethics, honesty, openess, and competetence…. I’d quote the Inigo Montoya line… but you all already know it..

Romeo13 on January 29, 2009 at 9:40 AM

Salizar from briefing yesterday:

President Obama has immediately set high ethical standards for all of government as part of his reform agenda.

OMG, I am laughing so hard right now watching this joke of an administration.

Bash Bush, Bash Bush…

Is there anywhere I can place a friendly wager on who will be the first to fall from grace?

gatorboy on January 29, 2009 at 9:40 AM

Grrrr… no coffee yet… its the Peter Principal…

Romeo13 on January 29, 2009 at 9:40 AM

He won. Quit all your whining. Obama knows what he’s doing.

Tommy_G on January 29, 2009 at 9:36 AM

How did Olberman get approved to comment on this blog?

BuckeyeSam on January 29, 2009 at 9:41 AM

Romeo13 on January 29, 2009 at 9:40 AM

That’s alright, Buddy. I had faith you would figure that out.

kingsjester on January 29, 2009 at 9:41 AM

Why do we keep picking people from firms that couldn’t stand on their own?

Where else should such people be besides government or academia?

forest on January 29, 2009 at 9:42 AM

Let’s tag this administration the “Chicago Stock Yards.” Of course, more pork will go through this administration than went through the Chicago Stock Yards.

WashJeff on January 29, 2009 at 9:42 AM

I have decided that Obama is the anti-Christ.

Jaibones on January 29, 2009 at 9:42 AM

Let’s also not forget the recent appointment of a “lobbyist” to the Obama administration, a direct violation of promises made by Obama during his campaign “No lobbyist will be allowed to be a part of my administration.” It took only one week for Obama to squash that promise!

This man’s no different than any other scumbag politician, tell the people what they want to hear and then use the media to provide cover when failing to hold true to promises made. All of you fools who bought into the false hope that somehow this man would be different, that this man will bring ethics & integrity back to DC; I ask you fools just how this has worked out for you over the past few years with Pelosi & Reid, as they promised the same crap. A bunch of mindless sheep being led to slaughter with a smile on your face and hope in your heart.

Keemo on January 29, 2009 at 9:42 AM

Most Ethical Administration Ever.

Bishop on January 29, 2009 at 9:43 AM

I can’t wait, the msm has got to start reporting on all this crap going on sooner or later, I mean, they can’t keep turning a blind eye to obimbos’ flippy floppy appointments and unethical people he is surrounding himself with. I mean, really, don’t ya think. Soon, anyday now, they have got to become real about this crap, right, RIGHT! Oh yeah, I forgot, this is the ONE. *sigh*

clinker46 on January 29, 2009 at 9:47 AM

He looks people in the eye and lies to them, and they believe his lies. He says one thing, does another, and no one batts an eye.

He is definitely the anti-Christ.

Jaibones on January 29, 2009 at 9:48 AM

I think Obama’s realizing he has no idea how to do his job. He’s in so far over his head that he’s grasping for anyone who sounds like they know what they’re talking about and tell him what he wants to hear.

Bill Scrunty on January 29, 2009 at 9:32 AM

This is my impression. I think Rahm Emanuel is running the show so far – and it shows. Obama is not off to a good start.

BigD on January 29, 2009 at 9:49 AM

I have to laugh at this. Laughter, because after four years of Dear Leader that’s about all I’m going to have left.

rbj on January 29, 2009 at 9:49 AM

Obama’s a conman and a frontman. He’s anything but dumb. His team is masterfully setting things, and using his popularity to accomplish their socialist agenda.

marklmail on January 29, 2009 at 9:50 AM

clinker46 on January 29, 2009 at 9:47 AM

Fox has been covering the Whitehouse Pressers… and I’ve already heard some rather… interesting… questions.

When asked about the appointment, they told the press to “look at the bigger picture”…

Needless to say, it did not fly very well…

Key is the Press will need one really good, well prooven, debacle… and then it will look like a shark feeding frenzy.

Romeo13 on January 29, 2009 at 9:51 AM

Maybe this is what Obama means by the most transparent administration ever. He is installing as many leftist crooks as possible,just like we knew he would.

Kjeil on January 29, 2009 at 9:52 AM

Are even the dKos freaks still on board with this fraud?

ex-Democrat on January 29, 2009 at 9:53 AM

Here’s a video that reminds us on how the stimulus package will work. The package goes in. It’s “palatable”….for several seconds. It begins to work. A little too hot. You panic a little and try and cool it down with a cold glass of milk. The first wave of the “stimulus package” hits. It gets so bad you hyperventilate. And the package hits bottom. Or so you think but the waves keep coming and gets worse. And then at the end, the person finally gotten the idea that he shouldn’t have taken the package in the first place.

That’s where we’re heading if we don’t watch out.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-NNzI3RTZ7I

Kokonut on January 29, 2009 at 9:53 AM

Here’s a video that reminds us on how the stimulus package will work. The package goes in. It’s “palatable”….for several seconds. It begins to work. A little too hot. You panic a little and try and cool it down with a cold glass of milk. The first wave of the “stimulus package” hits. It gets so bad you hyperventilate. And the package hits bottom. Or so you think but the waves keep coming and gets worse. And then at the end, the person finally gotten the idea that he shouldn’t have taken the package in the first place.

That’s where we’re heading if we don’t watch out.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-NNzI3RTZ7I

Kokonut on January 29, 2009 at 9:54 AM

I have decided that Obama is the anti-Christ.

Jaibones on January 29, 2009 at 9:42 AM

If not, he’ll certainly do until the real thing comes along…

Diogenes Online on January 29, 2009 at 9:54 AM

This is my impression. I think Rahm Emanuel is running the show so far – and it shows. Obama is not off to a good start.

BigD on January 29, 2009 at 9:49 AM

Could be. Dear Leader sure didn’t seem to have a firm grasp on the contents of the executive orders he was signing last week. It was almost as if his handlers prepared them without Obama’s input and then hastily shoved him out in front of the cameras to sign them.

forest on January 29, 2009 at 9:55 AM

He is pressuring the entire country, the entire congress, and the voters through his press conference rhetoric:

“For every day we wait or point fingers or drag our feet, more Americans will lose their jobs. More families will lose their savings. More dreams will be deferred and denied. And our nation will sink deeper into a crisis that, at some point, we may not be able to reverse,” he said.

And while he presses from above, his minions below – the demons Pelosi and Reid – prepare a $900 billion barrel of pork, filled with funding for Chlamydia education, abortion funding for foreign countries, tax refunds for people who don’t pay taxes (“welfare”), contraception and sod for the mall that they just trashed with their liberal orgy.

Anti-Christ.

Jaibones on January 29, 2009 at 9:56 AM

ex-Democrat on January 29, 2009 at 9:53 AM

I’m sure they are still on board. However, I can’t bring myself to visit that site. We’re just 2 weeks in on this voyage, so I’m sure the rats aren’t jumping ship just yet.

kingsjester on January 29, 2009 at 9:56 AM

And that “stimulus package” the House republicans clearly didn’t want to mess with it. As usual, Democrats are the ones wanting to be the foolish ones.

Kokonut on January 29, 2009 at 9:56 AM

“Meet The New Boss, The Same As The Old Boss”

Johan Klaus on January 29, 2009 at 9:57 AM

Are even the dKos freaks still on board with this fraud?
ex-Democrat on January 29, 2009 at 9:53 AM

Wait, what? Ogabe could stand at the podium wearing a gimp outfit, mouthball and all, and rip a kitten’s head off and the Kos monkeys would compliment him for looking good and having such a strong grip.

Bishop on January 29, 2009 at 9:57 AM

This little piggy went to the markets,
This little piggy went to the banks,
Both little piggies petitioned Congress,
And that’s when the economy tanked.

Mr. Joe on January 29, 2009 at 9:58 AM

I’m sure they are still on board. However, I can’t bring myself to visit that site. We’re just 2 weeks in on this voyage, so I’m sure the rats aren’t jumping ship just yet.
kingsjester on January 29, 2009 at 9:56 AM

Go, go and witness the spectacle.

Bishop on January 29, 2009 at 10:00 AM

It’s really quite stunning…the speed at which he has abandoned his principles and promises. And on so many levels. Makes you wonder if he’ll stick to any of them. I feel badly for people who were totally enamored with the guy and believed in his rhetoric…he’s now crumbling before their very eyes.

scalleywag on January 29, 2009 at 10:00 AM

Just remember, folks. These White House appointees are the real government; and almost none of them would have withstood a confirmation hearing. The actual Cabinet are just window dressing. This is not unheard of, but this Administration appears to be taking it to another level.

It’s going to be very interesting to see how fast Obama starts claiming executive privelege when the press gets off its knees and starts asking some hard question about what all these White House staff are actually doing.

rockmom on January 29, 2009 at 10:02 AM

He won. Quit all your whining. Obama knows what he’s doing.

Tommy_G on January 29, 2009 at 9:36 AM

Point one, agreed. Point two, not so sure.

Johan Klaus on January 29, 2009 at 10:05 AM

He won. Quit all your whining. Obama knows what he’s doing.

Tommy_G on January 29, 2009 at 9:36 AM

Hmmm… so…. fooling people in to voting for you suddenly means your RIGHT? Suddenly makes you smarter?

I might add, this is a Constitutional Republic. The Republicans in Congress are doing EXACTLY what the founding Fathers would have wanted them to do, they are representing THEIR Constiuents.

Romeo13 on January 29, 2009 at 10:09 AM

I might add, this is a Constitutional Republic. The Republicans in Congress are doing EXACTLY what the founding Fathers would have wanted them to do, they are representing THEIR Constiuents.

Romeo13 on January 29, 2009 at 10:09 AM

Civics lesson.

Johan Klaus on January 29, 2009 at 10:11 AM

He won. Quit all your whining. Obama knows what he’s doing.

Tommy_G on January 29, 2009 at 9:36 AM

So if someone “wins” then they are infallible? You must have really supported President Bush, he won twice…
*
I am just wondering how long the MSM can hold out and not bring these things to light…how long will they stand by this president…
Stand by your man…didn’t Hillary have something to say about that?

right2bright on January 29, 2009 at 10:13 AM

right2bright on January 29, 2009 at 10:13 AM

In public, yeah. In private, what Hillary said to Bill is not repeatable in mixed company.

And, of course, don’t foget to pay respects to the late, great Miss Tammy Wynette.

kingsjester on January 29, 2009 at 10:15 AM

foget=forget
Too much Southern accent.

kingsjester on January 29, 2009 at 10:16 AM

He won. Quit all your whining. Obama knows what he’s doing.

Tommy_G on January 29, 2009 at 9:36 AM

We’re just Speaking Truth To Power, don’tcha know? ;-)

rockmom on January 29, 2009 at 10:16 AM

He won. Quit all your whining. Obama knows what he’s doing.

Tommy_G on January 29, 2009 at 9:36 AM

And this pig is all his.

Mr. Joe on January 29, 2009 at 10:16 AM

He looks people in the eye and lies to them, and they believe his lies. He says one thing, does another, and no one batts an eye.

He is definitely the anti-Christ.

Jaibones on January 29, 2009 at 9:48 AM

I suppose you could make that argument, but the real problem is all the people who should know better and are lying to themselves about all this. It doesn’t take a lot of analysis to figure out that Obama has no idea what he’s talking about.

Mr. D on January 29, 2009 at 10:21 AM

http://youhavetobethistalltogoonthisride.blogspot.com/2009/01/i-fav-lou-dobbs-fellow-americansthe-sky.html

Lou Dobbs turns out the Sky wasn’t falling when George W Bush was in office and it still isn’t falling..He calls for a stop to the Fear mongering.

Dr Evil on January 29, 2009 at 10:22 AM

He won. Quit all your whining. Obama knows what he’s doing.

Tommy_G on January 29, 2009 at 9:36 AM

Heh.

On second thought, if he was the anti-Christ the House GOP would have supported his Marxist porking overwhelmingly. If they all start to die mysteriously, we’ll have our answer.

Jaibones on January 29, 2009 at 10:23 AM

I am going to show a little team loyalty for a moment. As a disclaimer, I work for a subsidiary of The Hartford.

First, to my knowledge, The Hartford has applied for eligability for TARP funds, but had not yet received any. We may not need any TARP money, because we have already received a $2.5 Billion cash infusion from German insurer Allianz in an attempt to stabilize our stock. It was only when our stock continued to tank did we acquire a bank and apply for TARP funds.

Second, Neil Wolin is the President and COO of our Propery and Casualty Operations, which has continued to remain profitable and bring in money for us. It was the Life insurance side of the house, that was responsible for our abyssmal 3rd quarter losses. I am hoping that our leadership will hold people accountable for what happened to us financially, but Neil isn’t one of those guys.

BohicaTwentyTwo on January 29, 2009 at 10:24 AM

I must be mistaken, but didn’t Obamasiah promise that he represented change because he was an outsider and his administration was not going to be politics as usual.

belad on January 29, 2009 at 10:26 AM

I just visited DKos. They still think Mr. President is brilliant. Now, excuse me. I have a little throw up in my mouth.

kingsjester on January 29, 2009 at 10:31 AM

I just visited DKos. They still think Mr. President is brilliant. Now, excuse me. I have a little throw up in my mouth.

kingsjester on January 29, 2009 at 10:31 AM

“your a better man than I am, Gunga Din…”…

I can’t bring myself to go to that site…

Romeo13 on January 29, 2009 at 10:39 AM

I just visited DKos. They still think Mr. President is brilliant. Now, excuse me. I have a little throw up in my mouth.

kingsjester on January 29, 2009 at 10:31 AM

kj,
I don’t have a decontamination booth so you’ll have to go for me.
; – P

thomasaur on January 29, 2009 at 10:42 AM

It was kind of like seeing my last ex-wife in public. *shivers*

kingsjester on January 29, 2009 at 10:44 AM

The fact that this appeared in a McClatchy organ is amazing. Somebody must be mixing up the “print” and “delete” keys today.

BohicaTwentyTwo on January 29, 2009 at 10:24 AM

I’ll take your word for it, but if Ed is right about the requirement for recusals, you have to wonder why the selection was made.

DrSteve on January 29, 2009 at 10:45 AM

Lou Dobbs turns out the Sky wasn’t falling when George W Bush was in office and it still isn’t falling..He calls for a stop to the Fear mongering.

Dr Evil on January 29, 2009 at 10:22 AM

Fear is the easiest way to gain absolute power. “I believe that Adolf said that”. “I ain’t going for it”. I said that.

Johan Klaus on January 29, 2009 at 10:46 AM

The rules sure sounded lofty when he issued them, right?

Maybe he thinks it’s up to ex-President Bush to enforce them — after all, doesn’t the buck stop at W’s digs in Texas?

unclesmrgol on January 29, 2009 at 11:04 AM

Obama has started to worry some of the Hopier-and-Changier crowd with his serial violations of his own ethics rules.

Just what did they expect?* Obama learned politics in Chicago, for Pete’s sake.

*(Yeah, I know. Dumb question.)

irishspy on January 29, 2009 at 11:38 AM

It was kind of like seeing my last ex-wife in public. *shivers*

kingsjester on January 29, 2009 at 10:44 AM

LOL….. just saw my X for the first time in 4 years…

Dam she got fat, ugly and old…

Had my current Hotty girlfreind with me… and the X’s new Hubby couldn’t keep his eyes off her…

I was laughing my A$$ off…

Sometimes? Life if good…

Romeo13 on January 29, 2009 at 11:54 AM

Oh come on…

Sheesh why not just appoint
Hitler to be in charge of relations with the Jews?
Himmler for the new police force
Goebbels as fcc chairman

YOu moron..

jcila on January 29, 2009 at 1:22 PM

The Peterson Principle is that you work up to the level of your incompetance… ie… your promoted until you do not do a good enough job to get further promotion…

This is the Obama Principal… if correctly connected, even after prooving a failure, we will promote you again…

His Press Sec keeps talking about Ethics, honesty, openess, and competetence…. I’d quote the Inigo Montoya line… but you all already know it..

Romeo13 on January 29, 2009 at 9:40 AM

It starts with Obama himself. The only thing he ever ran was the Chicago Annenberg Challenge, which spent $160 million, and schools receiving the money had no better test scores than those not receiving the money.

Then he was a State Senator, and he threw state money at private developers (his corrupt buddies, including Rezko) to build low-income tenements, which quickly fell into disrepair as rat-infested slums.

Then he became a U.S. Senator by blackmailing his GOP opponent out of the race, and spent half his time in the Senate campaigning for President.

Then he campaigned on vague promises of Hope and Change while contradicting himself repeatedly on the campaign trail, and nobody reported that, and now he’s President, and still clueless.

Barack Obama: Taking Failure to New Heights.

At this rate, 2010 looks like a GREAT year for Republicans…

Steve Z on January 29, 2009 at 4:38 PM