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Mitt Romney Considering Infamous Ex-Merrill Lynch CEO To Replace Geithner

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MITT ROMNEY JOHN THAIN
Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney speaks at a campaign event at the Wings Over the Rockies Air and Space Museum, Monday, Oct. 1, 2012, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Goldman) | AP

Mitt Romney is considering appointing a man who oversaw the implosion of a major Wall Street firm and got himself a $35,000 toilet while doing it as Treasury Secretary.

John Thain, the former CEO of Merrill Lynch, is on Romney's short list of possible Treasury Secretary picks, the Wall Street Journal reports. He paid his executives massive bonuses before selling Merrill Lynch to Bank of America during the height of the financial crisis with the help of government bailout money. He tried to snag a $10 million bonus for himself as the firm was collapsing, and he even spent $1.2 million on remodeling his office -- including on a $35,000 toilet -- as Merrill Lynch was imploding. Bank of America CEO Ken Lewis pushed Thain out in January of 2009.

Buying Merrill Lynch has saddled Bank of America with massive mortgage losses, as well as legal costs. BofA recently agreed to pay $2.43 billion to settle a class-action lawsuit alleging it misled investors about Merrill Lynch's finances.

In addition to Thain, Romney is also considering Richard Kovacevich, former CEO of Wells Fargo; Robert Zoellick, former president of the World Bank; and Glenn Hubbard, dean of Columbia Business School, as potential candidates for Treasury Secretary, according to the WSJ.

Current Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner is unlikely to stay in his job past January no matter who wins the election. He told Bloomberg TV earlier this year that he is "pretty confident" that President Barack Obama will not ask him to stay on if Obama wins a second term. Geithner considered leaving President Obama's economic team earlier, but Obama lobbied heavily to keep him, according to the New York Times.

(Hat tip: ThinkProgress.)

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