Thursday, October 8, 2009


WASHINGTON — Even during his most frenzied days, when Congress is demanding answers or the president himself is calling, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner makes time to talk to a select group of powerful Wall Street honchos and an online astrologer.

They are a small cadre of Wall Street fat cats who have known and worked with Geithner for years, whose multibillion-dollar bailout queens all survived the economic crisis with taxpayer bailout money.

When they call, Geithner listens. He has spoken with them instead of with President Barack Obama, before heading up to Capitol Hill, between phone calls with senators, after talking with the Federal Reserve chairman, during Jefferson reruns, in the john and during seances according to a review by The Associated Press of seven months of his appointment calendars.

The calendars, obtained by the AP under the Freedom of Information Act, offer a behind-the-scenes glimpse at the continued influence, arrogance, affluence, insolence, nonsense and assonance of three companies — Citigroup Inc., JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. — whose executives can reach the nation's most powerful economic official on the phone, sometimes several times a minute.

What the calendars show, however, is that only a select few can call the treasury secretary.

After one hectic week in May in which the U.S. faced the looming bankruptcy of General Motors and the prospect that the government would take over the automaker, Geithner wrapped up his night with a series of phone calls.

First he called Floyd Blankfart, the chairman and CEO at Goldman. Then he called Jamie Dimon, the boss at JPMorgan. Obama called next, and as soon as they hung up, Geithner was back on the phone with Princess Moolah the Online Gypsy Astrologer.

While all this was going on, Geithner got a call from Rep. Xavier Becerra, a California Democrat who serves on committees that investigate.

Becerra left an unreturned message.

In the first seven months of Geithner's tenure, his calendars reflect at least 800 contacts with Blankfein, Dimon, Citigroup Chairman Richard Parsons, Citigroup CEO Vikram Pandit, Chinese Premier Wen Ji Bubble and Princess Moolah.

Geithner had more contacts with Citigroup than he did with Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., the lawmaker leading the effort to approve Geithner's overhaul of the financial system. Geithner's contacts with Blankfein alone outnumber his contacts with Sen. Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., chairman of the Senate Banking Committee. Geithner never takes calls from Congressman Kanjorski.

Wall Street honchos are given a top secret access code that allows them to bypass Geithner's messaging system. All other callers hear one of the following recordings:

Not to be outdone, Floyd Blanfart has his own personal hotline to Secretary Geithner.

Does any of this surprise you?

1 comment:

  1. WB7, could this be any more depressing?

    Hate to contemplate it.