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Lew Is Asked About $1M Bonus From Citigroup

From Fox News:

Treasury nominee Lew pressed on $1M bonus from bailed-out firm

February 13, 2013

Treasury secretary nominee Jack Lew was challenged Wednesday over a nearly $1 million bonus he accepted from Citigroup just as the company was getting bailed out by the government, at an at-times tense confirmation hearing on the Hill.

Lew, who previously served as White House chief of staff and budget director, faced questions on the Senate Finance Committee… on everything from his investments to his budget approach to his time at Citigroup.

Republican lawmakers pointedly asked him how he could accept a $940,000 bonus from Citigroup in early 2009. At the time, Citigroup had received a $45 billion bailout and was about to get an even bigger federal guarantee…

Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, questioned why Lew thought it to be "morally acceptable" to take the money from an "insolvent" company receiving federal aid. Lew said he was compensated in a manner consistent with how other employees were paid.

But Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, top Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, said Lew’s explanation "seems just a little bit to me like saying ‘gee, Dad, everyone was doing it.’" …

But Lew again said his compensation was "comparable" to that for employees in similar positions… Lew said his base salary was $350,000…

Doesn’t everybody get million dollar bonuses from banks that are so at the point of failing they need a government bailout?

Democrats have few qualms about Lew’s nomination, and roundly praised him Wednesday as a hard-working, honest and skilled member of the president’s team well-suited to the vital job of Treasury secretary.

And never mind that Jack Lew is a Wall Street fat cat. Or that he has off shore bank accounts in the Cayman Islands. Those are only bad things if you are a Republican. (Even if you finances are in a blind trust over which you have no control.)

"There is no straighter shooter than Jack Lew," Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., said, introducing the nominee…

Such an endorsement should be good enough for anyone, given Sen. Schumer’s high double standards. And never mind Lew’s anything but straight answers about Obama’s briefings on Benghazi. (Which even Fox News did not bother to mention.)

But Republicans set about to grilling the nominee, whom some GOP lawmakers see as a driver behind Obama’s deficit-heavy budgets.

Well, what is wrong with deficits?

Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., earlier accused Lew of "deliberate" deception, saying statements Lew made while serving as director of the Office of Management and Budget should disqualify him from the position.

In a letter to his fellow senators obtained by Fox News the day before Lew’s Senate confirmation hearing, Sessions argued Lew’s assertions were "so false and outrageous as to disqualify him from serving as Secretary of the Treasury."

In 2011, Sessions says Lew repeatedly asserted that a budget proposal he had authored would lead to a decrease in the national debt, and that the government would no longer be adding to the debt annually.

However, in actuality he said the proposal would have increased the gross debt of the United States by $13 trillion, the smallest annual deficit would have been $607 billion, and by the last year of the budget the deficit would have grown to nearly $1 trillion.

"OMB Director Lew looked the American people in the eye and, without any qualification, made what is surely the greatest financial misrepresentation in history," Sessions wrote.

Sessions said Lew’s statements were "not error or puffing," asserting they were "deliberate artifice" to deceive the public.

Oh, come one. Anybody can make a mistake.

Lawmakers also questioned Lew on a $56,000 investment Lew used to have in a fund registered in the Cayman Islands.

Lew acknowledged the investment but said he "didn’t know at the time what the address of the partnership was." Asked whether he paid taxes on the fund, he said he actually "lost money on the investment." …

Well, okay then. All is forgiven.

This article was posted by Steve Gilbert on Thursday, February 14th, 2013. Comments are currently closed.

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