The revolving door between Wall Street and Washington is about to turn once more.
Richard Siewart, onetime counselor to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, is reportedly being considered for a position at Goldman Sachs. Siewert, who joined the Treasury Department in 2009, is said to be in the running to head up Goldman's communications department, Bloomberg reports, citing anonymous sources.
The position doesn't appear to carry any direct financial responsibilities, but the news may nevertheless spark concern among critics who think the relationship between Wall Street and Washington has gotten too cozy. Though President Obama touted and signed the Dodd-Frank act -- a landmark piece of financial regulatory legislation -- more than a year ago, banks have lobbied vigorously against the new law, and rulemakers tasked with implementing the law have missed most of their deadlines so far. Critics have expressed doubts that the Obama White House has the political willpower to effect meaningful reform, particularly when so many D.C. power players have spent time on Wall Street, or vice versa.
Among the current or former Obama staffers who have worked in the financial sector are Jack Lew, the president's new chief of staff, who spent time as an executive at Citigroup; Bill Daley, the chief of staff whom Lew replaced, who worked at JPMorgan Chase during the financial crisis; and Rahm Emanuel, another former chief of staff, now the mayor of Chicago, who made a reported $18 million during his three years with the investment bank Wasserstein Perella.
If Siewert moves to Goldman Sachs, he will be joining a bank that spent at least $1.8 million on lobbying in 2011, in part to push back against the Dodd-Frank act. Goldman is also one of several major banks currently trying to get Congress to exempt overseas derivative trading from Dodd-Frank oversight -- meaning that the derivatives market, one of the most high-risk trading areas and one that played a direct role in bringing about the financial crisis, could end up moving hundreds of millions of dollars beyond the supervision of U.S. regulators.
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