President Barack Obama announced Monday that Jacob "Jack" Lew is replacing Bill Daley as White House Chief of Staff.
As the White House's budget director, Lew has received praise for working with Republicans, even from one of Obama's harshest critics. "No one was more prepared and more in tune with the numbers than Jack Lew," said House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) in a 2010 Politico profile during the height of the debt ceiling fight last summer. "He was always very polite and respectful in his tone and someone who I can tell is very committed to his principles.'"
Lew grew up in New York City. As a 12-year-old, he campaigned for Eugene McCarthy in the 1968 presidential election. "It was also my introduction to seeing that you could make a difference in people's lives through politics," he told the New York Times in 1999.
Lew's faculty adviser at Carleton College was Paul Wellstone, an outspoken liberal who eventually represented Minnesota in the U.S. Senate until dying in a 2002 plane crash. Lew graduated from Harvard and earned a law degree from Georgetown.
He worked as an aide to Rep. Joe Moakley (D-Mass.) from 1974 to 1975. He then was a senior policy adviser to House Speaker Thomas (Tip) P. O'Neill Jr. (D-Mass.) from 1979 to 1987. "I grew up in many ways on the Hill in Mr. O'Neill's office," Lew told the Times.
Lew served as Deputy Director of Office of Management and Budget in the Clinton Administration from 1995 to 1998 and Director from 1998 to 2001. He served as executive vice president of New York University from 2001 to 2006.
Lew worked at Citigroup from 2006 to 2009. The Huffington Post reported that in 2008, he served as chief operating officer of Citigroup Alternative Investments, investing in a hedge fund that bet on the housing market to collapse:
One part of the entity invested in hedge funds. Multi-Adviser Hedge Fund Portfolios LLC was a unit of Alternative Investments' Hedge Fund Management Group, the 36th-largest such "fund of hedge funds" in the world when Lew came aboard, according to a ranking by Alpha magazine, a publication that covers the hedge fund industry.
That Multi-Adviser fund in particular had $407 million by the end of 2007, a week before Lew was named as Alternative Investments' chief operating officer, according to SEC filings. At that time, it had $18 million invested in Paulson Advantage Plus LP, worth $26.4 million, comprising about 6.5 percent of the Multi-Adviser fund's total capital.
The Paulson fund was run by hedge fund king John Paulson, the man who made billions off the deterioration of the housing industry by making bearish bets on securities tied to home mortgages -- particularly subprime home mortgages.
From 2009 to 2010, Lew worked for Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as deputy secretary for management and resources.
He told a Senate panel in 2010 that he did not believe that deregulation led to the financial crisis. He said that "the problems in the financial industry preceded deregulation," and after discussing those issues, added that he didn't "personally know the extent to which deregulation drove it, but I don't believe that deregulation was the proximate cause."
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