While I understand the praise he has received for his qualifications, the more I hear about Tim Geithner, the more I wonder about the wisdom of this selection. Even leaving aside his failure to master the complexities of a computer based home tax preparation program, this report from Politico looks to raise eyebrows further.
Newly minted Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner’s finances got a recent boost, thanks to a plump $435,000 severance payment from his old employer – the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
In addition, Geithner last year earned $411,000 as president of the New York Fed and got another $50,000 to $100,000 for unused vacation and comp time, according to a mandatory financial disclosure statement released by the Office of Government Ethics.
To be clear, there’s nothing patently illegal here, nor would it serve as some sort of automatic disqualifier. However, we’re in a season of American discontent with Wall Street, the banking system in general and suspicions over how the federal government is doling out our money. Having Geithner stepping into office with that much Fed cash lining his pockets presents some fairly awful optics at a minimum. President Obama has made some fine choices so far in his early appointments, but it seems to me that we could have done a bit better at Treasury.