March 23rd, 2009
09:36 AM ET

Obama's own rules bog down staffing

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Gloria Borger
CNN Senior Political Analyst

Tim Geithner may be the latest political piñata in Washington these days, but - policy aside - there may be another reason he is the one fellow everyone is picking on at Treasury: He's there alone.

Believe it or not, Geithner is the only confirmed official at his department. Some top nominees, even those who have served in government before, have decided to withdraw. Others are still pending as they go through arduous background checks that one pro-Obama Democrat calls "maddening vetting hell."

Sure, this is about extensive scrutiny to make sure no one has a tax problem after Geithner's own embarrassing unpaid tax bill. But the staffing problem is not just at Treasury, and it goes way beyond the time-consuming nature of extensive background checks.

It's also about overreaching anti-lobbyist rules.

Consider Tom Malinowski. He's the advocacy director for Human Rights Watch, an expert on genocide and torture. But when it came time for a top human rights job at the State Department, he was turned away.

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March 23rd, 2009
08:53 AM ET

My plan for bad bank assets

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Timothy Geithner
For the Wall Street Journal

The American economy and much of the world now face extraordinary challenges, and confronting these challenges will continue to require extraordinary actions.

No crisis like this has a simple or single cause, but as a nation we borrowed too much and let our financial system take on irresponsible levels of risk. Those decisions have caused enormous suffering, and much of the damage has fallen on ordinary Americans and small-business owners who were careful and responsible. This is fundamentally unfair, and Americans are justifiably angry and frustrated.

The depth of public anger and the gravity of this crisis require that every policy we take be held to the most serious test: whether it gets our financial system back to the business of providing credit to working families and viable businesses, and helps prevent future crises.

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Filed under: Bailout Turmoil • Economy • Finance • Treasury Secretary
March 19th, 2009
01:52 PM ET

Waiting for Geithner

Program Note: For more on Ali's interview with Treasury Secretary Geithner, tune in to AC360° tonight at 10 p.m. ET.

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Ali Velshi
CNN Chief Business Correspondent

I'm sitting in the Office of the Undersecretary of Domestic Affairs at the Treasury Department in DC.

The office in unoccupied – as are many in the building. It may be part of the problem.

Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner (whom I'm interviewing within the hour) has no deputy, and very little in the way of senior staff. And, according to the President, he's dealing with more crisis early on than ANY Treasury Secretary since – get this – Alexander Hamilton.


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