More Wall Street Influence Arrives at Treasury
From the foxes-guarding-the-henhouse department, Neal Wolin, who served as general counsel to the Treasury during the final years of the Clinton administration, was confirmed by the Senate last night to be deputy Treasury secretary under Tim Geithner. The approval came by unanimous consent.
There’s little doubt the department could use the help. In the midst of the deepest recession in decades, a number of top posts within the agency remain vacant — a condition that has stalled a series of policy decisions, according to recent reports.
Still, there are a few questions circling around the choice of Wolin to be Geithner’s right hand man.
As some observers pointed out earlier this year, Wolin was among the drafters of the 1999 legislation that effectively tore down the barriers between commercial banks, investment houses and insurance companies, leading to the creation of those too-big-to-fail entities that recently tanked the global economy.
Also of note, Wolin was previously head of a property management branch of The Hartford Financial Services Group, the insurance giant that just last week became eligible for $3.4 billion in federal bailout money under the Troubled Asset Relief Program, which is run by Treasury.
Whether that constitutes a conflict of interest or prerequisite experience is for others to decide.