Rachel Maddow and Matt Taibbi on the Obama administration's lastest nominee for the number two spot at Treasury, Neal Wolin.
MADDOW: Irony alert, jobs at President Obama‘s Treasury Department have been hard to fill. In the worst job market in at least 27 years, some jobs, like the job of cooling the economic meltdown, apparently have not been seen as worth taking.
Nine days ago, the president told “60 Minutes” that essentially, he couldn‘t give top treasury jobs away. People kept backing out because of expected scrutiny or embarrassment or low pay or all of the above.
But tonight, good news-bad news developments here. First the good. In the last week or so, the president has announced six new picks for top treasury jobs. Now choices for 10 of the top 23 treasury jobs have been announced, nominated or confirmed, which I think means they‘re running ahead of the Republican National Committee on that.
The bad news? One of the newly announced job candidates, the guy tapped to be the deputy secretary of the treasury, the second in command to Tim Geithner - he has a worrisome line on his very distinguished resume.
While serving as general counsel in the Clinton Treasury Department, Neal Wolin reportedly played a role in the drafting of the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act of 1989. Gramm-Leach-Bliley overturned Depression-Era regulations and wisdom and made it OK for commercial banks and investment banks and insurance companies to all be the same thing, to merge with one another.
After decades of that being against the rules, Gramm-Leech-Bliley let giganto-mega companies form in the financial sector, companies that were essentially too complex to police well and also too big to fail.
Gramm plus Leech plus Bliley in 1999 equals trillion-dollar bailout 10 years later. Reporter Greg Sargent at “The Plum Line” reports that Stuart Eisenstadt, a deputy treasury secretary under Bill Clinton, confirmed that as treasury‘s general counsel at the time, Neal Wolin, quote, provided the technical and legal drafting for the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act.
And now, with the seminal act of today‘s global crisis on his resume, Neal Wolin is on track to be the deputy secretary of the treasury. A Treasury Department spokesman did not refute the report about Mr. Wolin today but told us that “Plum Line” took the quote about him from Stuart Eisenstadt out of context.
The treasury secretary today told us, quote, “Mr. Wolin supervised a few of the lawyers who worked on it but he didn‘t do any of the legal writing or drafting of the legislation.”
So Mr. Wolin supervised the writing of this deregulation that effectively mugged the country but he didn‘t personally write it. He supervised the writing. He didn‘t write it. That‘s going to be the only defense here?