I just don't know what the best options are here, but I'm not feeling reassured that the people advising Geithner were making so much money from the people they're supposed to be regulating:
Oct. 14 (Bloomberg) -- Some of Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner’s closest aides, none of whom faced Senate confirmation, earned millions of dollars a year working for Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Citigroup Inc. and other Wall Street firms, according to financial disclosure forms.
The advisers include Gene Sperling, who last year took in $887,727 from Goldman Sachs and $158,000 for speeches mostly to financial companies, including the firm run by accused Ponzi scheme mastermind R. Allen Stanford. Another top aide, Lee Sachs, reported more than $3 million in salary and partnership income from Mariner Investment Group, a New York hedge fund.
As part of Geithner’s kitchen cabinet, Sperling and Sachs wield influence behind the scenes at the Treasury Department, where they help oversee the $700 billion banking rescue and craft executive pay rules and the revamp of financial regulations. Yet they haven’t faced the public scrutiny given to Senate-confirmed appointees, nor are they compelled to testify in Congress to defend or explain the Treasury’s policies.
“These people are incredibly smart, they’re incredibly talented and they bring knowledge,” said Bill Brown, a visiting professor at Duke University School of Law and former managing director at Morgan Stanley. “The risk is they will further exacerbate the problem of our regulators identifying with Wall Street.”
Gee, ya think?
[...] Treasury spokesman Andrew Williams said the department needs people with a deep understanding of markets and the financial system, especially as it works to fend off the worst recession in half a century.
“The secretary thought that the best way to utilize their talents was to allow these individuals to provide advice to the secretary on policy issues through appointments as counselor,” Williams said.
All of Geithner’s counselors are subject to federal ethics rules, including a pledge to avoid contact with their former firms for at least a year, Williams added.
Most officials at the Treasury who have been approved by Congress come from academic, legal or non-Wall Street backgrounds.