January 27th, 2009
07:30 AM ET
11 months ago

Sources: New treasury secretary to reveal new rules on lobbyists

WASHINGTON (CNN) - In his first official move as treasury secretary, Timothy Geithner will unveil on Tuesday new rules to crack down on lobbyists for companies that benefited from federal bailouts, according to two senior administration officials late Monday.

Earlier Monday, Senate lawmakers voted to confirm Geithner as the next treasury secretary amid ongoing uncertainty about the nation's economic future.

Geithner, who will spearhead President Obama's response to the financial crisis that threatens to unravel economic growth around the globe, won approval in a 60-34 vote.

Following the vote, President Obama and Vice-President Biden went to the Treasury Department to immediately swear Geithner in - a sign that the president, who originally hoped Geithner would be sworn in on Inauguration Day, wants to get his entire team in place to help sell the $825 billion economic stimulus plan.

The administration officials told CNN that the new rules are aimed at bring more "transparency, accountability and oversight" to the $700 billion federal bailout program, know, as the Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP), which has come under bipartisan fire.

The officials said Geithner will announce new "stepped-up rules to limit the influence of lobbyists" and special interests involved in the bailout process.

Democrats on Capitol Hill had been pushing for a quick confirmation of Geithner, arguing that the threats facing the economy required immediate action. Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, cited that rationale in a statement on the Senate floor Monday afternoon.

"I do not believe we have the luxury of leaving this nomination unfilled even another day," said Hatch, who was one of five Republicans to support Geithner's nomination last week when it came before the Senate Finance Committee. "You're not going to get a better person for this job."

Reid warned Friday that Republicans "would not be very wise politically" to try to hold up the nomination, which last week won the support of all the Democrats and half the Republicans on the finance committee. He added that Democrats could block any attempt to filibuster.

Despite Reid's comments, several Republican lawmakers made clear Monday that they had reservations about Geithner. Sens. Saxby Chambliss of Georgia, John Thune of South Dakota and James Inhofe of Oklahoma questioned Geithner's character in light of his failure to pay some taxes earlier this decade, and his handling of questions about those missteps.

"I don't believe he has been remotely forthcoming," said Inhofe.

In congressional testimony, Geithner acknowledged having made mistakes but insisted the errors were unintentional.

Amid mounting Republican opposition to the plan, Obama is planning to ramp up his sales pitch Tuesday with a trip to Capitol Hill to meet with House and Senate Republicans in separate meetings.

Geithner will take over for Stuart A. Levey, the undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, who has been serving as acting treasury secretary since the Obama administration took office last week.

– CNN's Ed Henry and Fortune's Colin Barr contributed to this report.


Filed under: TARP • Timothy Geithner
soundoff (67 Responses)
  1. Terry

    How about no lobbyists, no way, no how? I can't see that professional lobbyists help the nation in any way.

    January 27, 2009 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  2. Repuges are sore loosers

    This was a very necessary appointment, Geithner is the only one who understands TARP, Polson was blubbering idiot who really didn't know what he was doing. Geithner is well respected by every Economist in the country, his appointment wilol have a positive affect on the Stock market. I believe people who make comments on this site think with their emotions instead of their heads. He messed up with his taxes so what! He paid his penalties ust like any of us would have to do but does that mean that you should not get hired for a job b/c you made a mistake. If that were the case a lot of the Senate should resign b/c I am positive they have been called on the carpet by the IRS. They all have so many business ventures it makes it easy to overlook something.
    Those without sin cast the first stone...... ...Oh! I thought not !!!!!

    January 27, 2009 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  3. Lu

    Oh yeah, idiocy.....how about the idiots that gave away $300 billion to the banks and now they can't account for it? That's idiocy....I'll take the new guy anyday.

    January 27, 2009 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  4. lady in the know

    Can only imagine if Bush had made this same appointment. He wouldn't have even gotten the name out of his mouth and the appointment would have been shot out of the sky. The double standard that is being shoved down our throats in this adminstration so far is upsetting. Some one said it best earlier, this is a do as I say, not as I do, adminstration, i.e.-his lobbyist stance-except if HE wants to appoint one. It is really scary that he seems to have a blank check with everything he wants to do, everyone he wants to appoint-no matter their background-and whatever he says. Another thing is his judgement. We are in for a real dangerous ride here, so everyone strap in and hang on.

    January 27, 2009 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  5. JC

    I hereby volunteer to audit his tax return for '09.

    January 27, 2009 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  6. Jan Illinois

    Just do the right thing for allof us and throw the junk out of OUR white house. Period

    January 27, 2009 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  7. libs be dopes

    First rule for Geithner............pay your taxes!

    January 27, 2009 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  8. Noah

    Thanks Democrats for giving us a tax cheat for our Treasurer, a terrorist sympathizer as our Attorney General and top law enforcement agent, and a woman whose husband as received tens of millions of dollars from foreign countries as our Sec of State. Yea, there are NO conflicts of interest there

    January 27, 2009 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  9. Casy

    Dean in FL, I could not agree more!

    People wanted change, well that is exactly what they are going to get but I guarantee you that it will not be the change they want!

    January 27, 2009 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  10. Hayward

    I second that notion. People or rather "sheeple", when will you wake up? This crap is simply not gonna work. I recommend you start listening to some of the naysayers and stop saying they're unpatriotic and that they're foolish because they may be worth listening to after all. They may have a point. Start listening to someone like Ron Paul whom we should have been listening to years ago. Stop supporting the popularity contest and read more often and use your brains and not get caught up in emotional speeches that are only as good as the air they're spat out into. Listen and listen carefully, this will be an ultimate failure. None of these people know what they're doing. Politicians should not be posing as business arbiters and professionals. Obama is clueless and so are his cohorts. Let the market take care of itself. Oh yeah and all those people that squandered our tax dollars away should be in jail..... and if they made bad decisions that's their problem let them suffer. Nobody's gonna bail me out when I screw up or when a small business screws up. Rich welfare is no better than poor welfare. They are in fact parrallel.

    January 27, 2009 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  11. obama-mama

    Dean, Noah & Casy.....I guess in your perfect lives you never made a mistake. Give the administration a chance. It's been a little over a week. Stop your whining....

    January 27, 2009 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  12. cnnnewser

    I fully support Geithner – he is a brilliant man and will serve our country well.

    January 27, 2009 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  13. David

    With geithner, this is all smoke and mirrors. He is IMF and Bilderberg. He is doing this only for appearance.

    January 27, 2009 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  14. IsaacTheForcedCatholic

    And we all know right-wingers are prophets. Thats why you act like you know it all but in reality, you know the real world, you are full of it. You are no prophets so stop acting like it.

    January 27, 2009 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  15. Andy at PSU

    "Reid warned Friday that Republicans "would not be very wise politically" to try to hold up the nomination"

    So much bipartisanship! Being bipartisan isn't just forcing Republicans to agree with everything Democrats say or want. The sad thing is the Republican's have a legitimate concern with an appointee. I thought Obama was trying to do the best for our country and listen to it's citizens. I highly doubt Obama's sheep want a Treasury Secretary that doesn't even know how to do his own taxes.

    January 27, 2009 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  16. Jill (Oregon)

    I'd rather have someone who made a mistake on his taxes in office then a GOP Senator who trys to have sex with a stranger in an airport bathroom, or Newty who cheats on his wife one day and then screams about another mans indiscretions, or a Vice President who outs a CIA agent (that's treason by the way), what hypocrites you Repubs are, how quickly you forget.

    January 27, 2009 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  17. mark

    .What with all the Dems like Reid threatening the republicans?

    I didn't see this when Bush was in control. Is this the change everyone was talking about?

    Try having a position that sways people to your side. You know, like a true leader. As opposed to jamming someone down our throats.

    Especially someone who tried to cheat the government out of $34K.

    January 27, 2009 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
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