Poor Timmy – Nobody Wants to Work with Him

From the Wall Street Journal:


Top Treasury Candidates Pull Out

Nazareth, Atkinson Decline to Endure Vetting Process, Adding to Geithner’s Strain

WASHINGTON — Two candidates for top jobs at the Treasury have withdrawn their names from consideration, complicating efforts by Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner to staff his department at a time of economic crisis, according to people familiar with the matter.

Annette Nazareth, who was expected to be tapped as deputy Treasury secretary, and Caroline Atkinson, who was being considered to oversee international affairs, have both taken their names out of the running, these people said. Ms. Atkinson’s name was withdrawn weeks ago and Ms. Nazareth withdrew several days ago.

Across the administration, several potential candidates have been blocked by the Obama administration’s tough rules about who it will hire. In addition, the White House increased the rigor of its vetting process after tax problems threatened Mr. Geithner’s confirmation and scuttled that of former Sen. Tom Daschle.

The withdrawals aren’t confined to the Treasury. Susan Tierney recently withdrew her name from consideration for the job of deputy secretary of energy for what a person close to her said were family reasons. Jane Garvey recently withdrew from consideration for the deputy secretary post at the Department of Transportation, according to people familiar with the matter.

People familiar with the matter said Ms. Nazareth and Ms. Atkinson withdrew in part because of the long vetting process, which had dragged on for weeks and included several rounds of intense questioning. Treasury has identified and is vetting other people for top slots, including H. Rodgin Cohen, chairman of top law firm Sullivan & Cromwell LLP and an adviser to virtually every firm on Wall Street, for the deputy secretary position, two people familiar with the matter said. Mr. Cohen declined to comment.

A Treasury spokesman said: “The Treasury Department is following the normal vetting process for nominees. With more than 50 political appointees already hard at work, the department is ahead of staffing levels from previous administrations….Any rumors of vetting problems or delays in the process are simply not true.”

Ms. Nazareth’s ability to get the job may have been complicated by her previous role at the Securities and Exchange Commission, where she ran the division with oversight of financial markets, including what were once the nation’s investment banks.

Some on Wall Street had raised concerns in the Senate over Ms. Nazareth’s role as the founder of the SEC’s Consolidated Supervised Entities program, which was created in 2004 to coax global investment banks to voluntarily submit to regulation, according to people familiar with the matter.

The five major investment banks no longer exist. They have either been acquired, filed for bankruptcy protection or reorganized as regulated banks. Many people cite their ill-advised bets on the mortgage market as one cause of the financial crisis.

The program was abandoned in September 2008 after then-SEC Chairman Christopher Cox declared it “fundamentally flawed from the beginning.”

Ms. Nazareth’s role in creating the program had come to the attention of the Senate Finance Committee. Because her nomination hadn’t been formalized, any effort to delve into her role in the failed regulatory regime never got beyond the early stages.

The withdrawals come amid growing concern about the lack of staff at Treasury as it tries to grapple with an unrelenting financial crisis. Mr. Geithner is the only official to be nominated, let alone confirmed.

Paul Volcker, an economic adviser to President Barack Obama, recently called the lack of staff “shameful” and said Mr. Geithner “shouldn’t be sitting there alone.”

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