FLASHBACK: Treasury Nominee Has History of Controversy at Citi

White House chief of staff Jack Lew to be named Treasury secretary Thursday


President Obama will announce the nomination of current White House chief of staff Jack Lew as the new Treasury secretary Thursday afternoon.

In December the Free Beacon reported about Lew’s history of controversy and questionable practices as managing director and chief operating officer of Citigroup Alternative Investments:

Despite making millions off the housing market’s collapse, Lew’s unit still reported losses of $509 million in the first quarter of 2008.

Lew received $1.1 million for his work at Citigroup and noted on an Office of Government Ethics form that he was also eligible for “discretionary compensation for 2008 which I will receive prior to assuming the duties” of deputy secretary of state.

Citigroup received $45 billion in TARP bailout funds from the Treasury in 2008. Banks that received bailout money were not permitted to give large bonuses to its executives. Both Lew and State Department spokesmen Robert A. Wood refused to disclose details about the bonus when pressed by the Washington Times.

Also, Lew has been criticized for his lack of financial expertise, even admitting to his own lack of financial knowledge:

Lew has also failed to exhibit a strong understanding of finance in public appearances. When asked by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) during hisSenate confirmation hearing whether deregulation contributed significantly to the financial collapse, Lew prefaced his response by confessing to a lack of financial expertise.

“I don’t consider myself an expert in some of these aspects of the financial industry,” Lew said.

He followed by qualifying his response as coming from “someone who has generally been familiar with these trends.” He then recommended that the Senator speak to somebody who knows more about the finance industry.

“I would defer to others who are more expert about the industry to try and parse it better than that,” he said.

Lew is not an expert in congressional procedures either:

Lew is no stranger to talking himself into a hole. He incorrectly stated in an appearance on CNN’s “State of the Union” that, “You can’t pass a budget in the Senate of the United States without 60 votes, and you can’t get 60 votes without bipartisan support.”

Lew made the same mistake on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

“You know, one of the things about the United States Senate that I think the American people have realized is that it takes 60 not 50 votes to pass something,” he said.