Friday-night doc dump: Summers took millions from hedge funds, TARP recipients

posted at 1:52 pm on April 4, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

The Obama administration has mastered the art of the Friday Night Disclosure.  They tried to avoid media scrutiny over the revelation that National Economic Council chair Lawrence Summers made millions from the same people demonized by Barack Obama and the Democrats for the economic collapse:

Lawrence Summers, director of President Barack Obama’s National Economic Council, earned millions working at a hedge fund and speaking to banks such as Citigroup Inc. that later received taxpayer bailout money.

Hedge fund D.E. Shaw & Co. paid Summers more than $5 million in salary and other compensation in the past 16 months, according to a financial disclosure form released by the White House yesterday. Summers served as a managing director at the New York-based firm. Summers, a former Treasury secretary, also earned more than $2.7 million in speaking fees.

“There was considerable interest in hearing his economic insights,” said Ben LaBolt, a White House spokesman. At the White House, Summers “has been at the forefront of this administration’s work to shore up our nation’s financial system and to put in place a regulatory framework that will strengthen the financial system,” LaBolt said.

The disclosure statement for Summers and several other top administration officials illustrates the quandary Obama and his predecessors have faced in their personnel decisions because “powerful people are almost always also rich people” who have earned money from private interests, said Steffen Schmidt, a political science professor at Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa.

Obama’s “choice going forward is to choose unknowns of modest means who may be less controversial in terms of their connections,” Schmidt said. “Except those people would be far less knowledgeable and thus less of an asset to fix these very same urgent problems.”

You know, the same argument could be made with, oh, AIG and the people they need to retain to fix their problems.  I don’t really have a problem with Obama hiring Summers; in fact, I think Summers would have made a much better choice than Tim Geithner as Treasury Secretary.  Unfortunately, Obama didn’t have the guts to face the flak over the silly controversy Summers inadvertently stoked at Harvard a few years back.

However, the Obama administration appears to want to eat their cake and have it, too.  They spent the last few weeks stoking outrage over retention bonuses that had been clearly disclosed months ago, and which went to people AIG needs to unwind their Financial Products division.  It’s completely hypocritical.

So is the Friday Night Disclosure, as Tommy Christopher points out:

The White House did a Friday left-cheek sneak yesterday, announcing that Executive Branch Financial Disclosure reports are now available through an online ordering process. Making hay out of these reports is the nature of the beast in politics, and by dumping them on a Friday, they blunt the impact of criticisms like this

It also makes a joke out of claims to “transparency”, but the Friday Night Disclosure has a long and bipartisan tradition.  It’s not much Hope and Change, though, and Obama promised to stop doing business as usual during his campaign.


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Comment pages: 1 2

It also makes a joke out of claims to “transparency”, but the Friday Night Disclosure has a long and bipartisan tradition. It’s not much Hope and Change, though, and Obama promised to stop doing business as usual during his campaign.

Ed, as we both know, those promises both expired on Jan. 21, 2009. Obama is a hardball Chicago politician, and to expect anything else is folly. Unlike some on the right who drank his Kool-Aid, my predictions are coming to fruition. He is turning out exactly like I thought he would.

simkeith on April 4, 2009 at 6:38 PM

Ed, as we both know, those promises both expired on Jan. 21, 2009. Obama is a hardball Chicago politician, and to expect anything else is folly. Unlike some on the right who drank his Kool-Aid, my predictions are coming to fruition. He is turning out exactly like I thought he would.

simkeith on April 4, 2009 at 6:38 PM

He has not let me down yet…I have assumed the worst and he has reached for it every time…

Crap’n’Trade will be next year.

sven10077 on April 4, 2009 at 7:48 PM

Ya know…. this is so wrong and out of hand that I’m beginning to be hopeful. Pelosi is trying to stick millions into the budget for her husband’s business deals because she knows she’s on her way out. Obama’s people know that he will never win re-election. People are going to be so fed up with what is going on here that if we get the right “conservative” elected, they will be able to say “okay, we need to get this mess cleaned up and we’re going to eliminate agencies, roll back regulations, cut taxes and restructure social security and medicare”.

Otherwise…. we are screwed.

suzyk on April 4, 2009 at 8:04 PM

Otherwise…. we are screwed.

suzyk on April 4, 2009 at 8:04 PM

always keep rally points in mind and have an escape route planned…

when the leftbats figure out there is not enough wealth in the world to feed their vaunted desires they are kleptocrats for we’re gonna make the Soviets in the ’30s seem like humanitarians….

sven10077 on April 4, 2009 at 8:13 PM

Ed, when you say “Obama promised…”, doesn’t that make you throw up in your mouth a little?

SKYFOX on April 4, 2009 at 8:43 PM

Ed, when you say “Obama promised…”, doesn’t that make you throw up in your mouth a little?

SKYFOX on April 4, 2009 at 8:43 PM

No, actually it makes him do a full hurl. But somebody has to write it.

platypus on April 4, 2009 at 9:18 PM

In keeping with the piano wired liberals, all that money should be confiscated by the goverment, Larry should lose his tax payer financed job and never allowed a goverment job again, and Obama should be impeached and sent back to Illinois. THESE PEOPLE ARE CORRUPT, BOYS AND GIRLS! And we have 4 more years of this crap!

apco on April 4, 2009 at 10:20 PM

Obama is the only person in the world who can separate Summers from pitchforks.

Basilsbest on April 4, 2009 at 11:32 PM

It also makes a joke out of claims to “transparency”, but the Friday Night Disclosure has a long and bipartisan tradition. It’s not much Hope and Change, though, and Obama promised to stop doing business as usual during his campaign.

You can take the liar out of Chicago Politics, but you can’t take the Chicago Politics out of the liar….

TN Mom on April 5, 2009 at 12:54 AM

Cue the ACORN bus protestors.

All aboard?

TN Mom on April 5, 2009 at 12:55 AM

Ed, I’m so disappointed. At least AP would have known red meat when he saw it. I mean the raw stuff – still mooing. According to Drudge, the same disclosures revealed that new Deputy NatSec Director Tom Donilan sits on the steering committee of the Bilderbergs. I am now perusing images of the man to see if he has a propensity for holding his pinkie up to the corner of his mouth.

rhodeymark on April 5, 2009 at 7:16 AM

Larry’s ‘foibles’ don’t matter, like TurboTax Timmy’s blatant tax cheating. mr. 0gabe has told us that Larry is so smart that he’s The One to help set the economy onto its proper course. That course is 0bamist Marxism but Larry is desperately needed.

GeneSmith on April 5, 2009 at 11:56 AM

I think Summers would have made a much better choice than Tim Geithner as Treasury Secretary. Unfortunately, Obama didn’t have the guts to face the flak over the silly controversy Summers inadvertently stoked at Harvard a few years back.

I don’t think Obama wanted Summers there because I don’t think Summers would have been Obama’s marionette. Getting over the hump of Summers’ overblown comments about females and their scientific acumen would have been forgotten by now if he was the selection and brought some competency to the table. Geithner, who has proved to be “Wile E. Coyote, Super Genius” with the constant explosions in his face, will NEVER live down being a tax cheat.

L.N. Smithee on April 5, 2009 at 12:11 PM

Comment pages: 1 2