With the hysteria brewing over the upcoming debt ceiling crisis and the uproar over gun control, people are concentrating on what the right hand of government is doing. They are paying scant attention to the left hand which is feverishly nominating people to positions of power that we know very little about.
The media is virtually burying the stories on most of Obama’s choices for his second term. Those we already know like Janet Napolitano and John Kerry are really not worth the effort to talk about. We know what we are getting with them, the book has been opened and any news would just be a re-hash of the past.
Not so with would-be Treasury Secretary Jack Lew. The media scrutiny has been almost non-existent although they did investigate him a bit more when he was tapped to be Obama’s Chief of Staff. A few reports have stated that he is a quiet, unassuming man whom you would barely notice until you go behind the scenes and see that he is Obama’s trusted consigliere; sort of a Tom Hagen to Marlon Brando’s Don Vito Corleone in “The Godfather”.
During the previous debt ceiling debate it was Lew who counseled Obama on how to deal with Republicans demands and then override them. He pushed his progressive agenda and convinced Obama not to bend or negotiate with Boehner and the Republicans.
This is just what we need isn’t it; a critical cabinet member who is going to back- up and strengthen Obama’s refusal to negotiate a solution to the country’s problems.
Lew’s political history has him working for extreme progressive Bella Abzug and then House Speaker Tip O’Neill. He moved on to the Clinton White House where he rose to the ranks of Office and Management Budget Director. He kept a rather low profile while continuing to influence decisions made by high powered officials.
What the media is sweeping under the carpet however, is the fact that from 2006-2008 Lew was Chief Operating Officer of Citibank’s alternative investments division. His division made billions of dollars betting that “U.S. homeowners would not be able to make their mortgage payments.” This was reported by the Huffington Post. They went on to say, “Lew made millions at Citi, including a bonus of nearly $950,000 in 2009 just a few months after the bank received billions of dollars in a taxpayer rescue, according to disclosure forms filed with the Federal Government.”
According to the New York Observer, alternative investments are hedge funds that buy things like credit default swaps. In 2008 and the beginning of 2009 Mr. Lew took in $1.1 million from Citigroup.
So he made money by betting against homeowners and taking a bonus that was funded by taxpayers! Isn’t this a perfect example of the close-knit relationship that Washington has with Wall Street? If this had been Mitt Romney the liberal media would have been all over it, but because it is a progressive member on their side, barely a word is spoken.
Dig even deeper into Lew’s associations and you come up with his “business relationships” where he was a limited partner from 2007-2010 in the CVCI private equity fund. CVCI is an acronym for Citi Venture Capital International, a unit of Citigroup that invested billions in foreign companies in order to make their limited partners very wealthy. In the Senate hearings in 2010, he dodged questions about a conflict of interest and when grilled by Sen. Bernie Sanders, he gave vague, non specific answers.
Senator Jeff Sessions has flatly stated that after his questioning of Lew two years ago, “Jack Lew must never be Secretary of Treasury”. There are too many unanswered questions, to little known about where he would come down on major decisions and how much influence he has over the President.
Congress must delve into each and every nominee that Obama is touting for his next term. It is crucial that correct decisions are made at this pivotal time in our history. We can’t afford to look back on the mistake of another Tim Geithner, things are too fragile.