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Goldman Sachs Plugged in at Geithner’s Treasury

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner has made former Goldman Sachs lobbyist Mark Patterson his chief of staff. From a report in the D.C. Examiner:

The selection is at least the third high-profile exception to a policy by President Barack Obama that says no one who has lobbied on a set of issues within the past two years can take a role in his administration that deals with the same subject matter.

White House press secretary Robert Gibbs reiterated his claim that that rule is the “strongest that any administration in the history of our country has had.”

Until last April, Patterson, a Goldman vice president for government relations, acted as a lobbyist on a wide range of issues that could come under his purview in his new job. Under Obama’s restrictions, Patterson would be severely hampered in the new job unless he gets a waiver from the White House on grounds that it is in the public interest.

Patterson’s former Wall Street firm has benefited from $10 billion in government bailouts in the current recession.

The issues on which Patterson acted as a lobbyist until last April appear to cover a large swath of his duties at Treasury, according to a lobbying disclosure report filed with Congress last July.

Issues Patterson lobbied on included covered bonds, tax treatment of corporate reorganization transactions, nonbinding shareholder votes on executive compensation, continuation of the industrial loan company charter for Goldman Sachs, over-the-counter energy derivatives, tax patents, extension of tax credits for cellulosic ethanol and market disruptions regarding auction rate securities, a Treasury official said Wednesday night.

Patterson only monitored legislation on mortgage issues and did not lobby, added the Treasury official, who was not authorized to speak about the matter on the record.

And so the power of thimblerigging Goldman Sachs in Washington remains unabated.