|W.H. team discloses TARP firm ties
Politico | April 3, 2009
Lawrence Summers, a top economic adviser to President Barack Obama, pulled in more than $2.7 million in speaking fees paid by firms at the heart of the financial crisis, including Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan, Merrill Lynch, Bank of America Corp. and the now-defunct Lehman Brothers.
He pulled in another $5.2 million from D.E. Shaw, a hedge fund for which he served as managing director from October 2006 until joining the administration.
Thomas E. Donilon, Obama’s deputy national security adviser, was paid $3.9 million by the power law firm O’Melveny & Myers to represent clients including two firms that receieved federal bailout funds: Citigroup and Goldman Sachs. He also disclosed that he’s a member of the Trilateral Commission and sits on the steering committee of the supersecret Bilderberg group. Both groups are favorite targets of conspiracy theorists.
And White House Counsel Greg Craig earned $1.7 million in private practice representing an exiled Bolivian president, a Panamanian lawmaker wanted by the U.S. government for allegedly murdering a U.S. soldier and a tech billionaire accused of securities fraud and various sensational drug and sex crimes.
Those are among the associations detailed in personal financial disclosure statements released Friday night by the White House.
Presidential appointees are required to disclose information about their income, assets and investments, and those of their spouses and dependent children, within 60 days of starting work. And the disclosure forms filed by many appointees to top agency jobs have been available for public inspection for some time, thanks to the federal Freedom of Information Act.
But the White House is largely exempt from the act, and Obama press aides dragged their feet on reporters’ requests for the disclosure documents filed by officials in the Executive Office of the President.
Craig disclosed that his work for Williams & Connelly included representing Pedro Miguel Gonzalez Pinzon, a Panamanian lawmaker who allegedly murdered a U.S. soldier in 1992, as well as Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada, a former Bolivian president who has lived in exile since 2003, when clashes between protesters and the Bolivian military killed an estimated 70 people and wounded hundreds more.
During the presidential campaign, Craig, then serving as a senior foreign policy adviser to Obama, drew flak for representing Sanchez de Lozada.
Craig also listed among his clients Henry Nicholas, founder of microchip maker Broadcom, who is facing securities fraud charges in an alleged stock option backdating plot. In June, the government unsealed an indictment also detailing a raft of drug and prostitution charges, which Craig called “a kitchen-sink attack on Dr. Nicholas.”
Valerie Jarrett, a senior Obama aide, reported $852,000 in salary and deferred compensation from Habitat Executive Services, a Chicago real estate development and management firm, plus nearly $350,000 in director’s fees from groups including the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago and USG Corp.
She also indicated that she served as vice-chairwoman of the committee seeking to lure the 2016 Olympics to Chicago, which paid a public relations firm owned by Obama political guru David Axelrod and to which White House social director Desiree Rogers, another member of the Obama’s inner circle, donated more than $100,000.
Other forms showed that White House ethics lawyer Norm Eisen earned $1.3 million from the firm in which he was a partner, Zuckerman Spaeder, and press secretary Robert Gibbs earned $156,000 from Obama’s presidential campaign and also owns a pair of rental properties in Alexandria, Va., worth as much as $1 million.