I remember being told before that the banking industry has effectively been choosing the Secretary of Treasury for a long time and, my memory is fuzzy, that the current U.S. Secretary of Treasury is a still part of a board of a major bank. I trust that it's true, but I would like to research more. However, I was unable to find any information online to backup the statements I was told. I was wondering if anyone here had more information on this?

  • Not directly answering the question, but wouldn't you rather have SecTreas who knows what the hell they are doing professionally and had a successful finance job previously, instead of a random yahoo with no experience?
    – user4012
    Aug 19 '14 at 14:18

The current Secretary of the Treasury is Jack Lew, who used to be President Obama's chief of staff. Before that, he was Obama's Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), and before that he was President Clinton's OMB Director as well. In between his terms in the White House, he worked at Citigroup and was a member of its board of directors.

Before Lew was Secretary Timothy Geithner. He had served in the Treasury Department under three previous presidents. In between the Clinton and Obama administrations, he became CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

So it is true the recent Secretaries have had ties to the banking industries. But there's never been any evidence that the banking industry actually selects the Secretary instead of the President. If the banking industry did select the Secretary of the Treasury, they've been very good about selecting exactly the Democratic loyalists and former bureaucrats you'd expect President Obama to select on his own.

And while the closeness between banks and the Department of the Treasury has always been a common complaint, no one has alleged that recent Secretaries currently have jobs in the industry, stock in banks, serve on a bank's board of directors, etc. Given how contentious the Geithner and Lew nominations were in the Senate, I guarantee you at least one Republican would have brought it up as ammunition.

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