According to Bloomberg, Roger Altman, who served at the Treasury Department in the Carter and Clinton Administration, and who is founder and chairman of Evercore Partners, an investment bank, is a leading candidate to succeed Larry Summers at the National Economic Council. Altman, who met with President Obama on Tuesday, was a top economic adviser to the Hillary Clinton campaign in 2008.
Altman’s candidacy seems to be at least in part about repairing the “rift” with the business community:
Altman, 64, who served at the Treasury Department under former President Bill Clinton, has close ties to the business community. The people familiar with the matter said he might be able to repair the rift that has emerged between Obama and investors. Altman didn’t return a request for comment.
But since the right wing won’t cooperate with that story, let me tell you what it will actually be about: Whitewater.
Roger Altman: Formerly deputy Treasury secretary, Altman resigned Aug. 29, 1994 following revelations he tipped the White House off to criminal referrals made by Resolution Trust Corp. investigators related to Madison Guaranty. Altman, a college friend of Clinton’s, angered both Republican and Democratic senators after giving conflicting testimony about White House-Treasury contacts.
Here’s a little more on that. Altman admitted to Congress in a hearing that he gave the White House a “heads-up” on those criminal referrals. This led to some meetings between Clinton and some old Arkansas officials. Ultimately this all amounted to nothing, but Altman had to resign, mainly because his action was one of the few that did look unquestionably seedy.
Not sure why the White House would want to bring in someone, right before Darrell Issa gets the gavel of the House Oversight Committee, involved in a long-ago scandal.
But hey, he might “bring back” the business community! Goody.
I actually hear that, from an ideological perspective, this may not be a bad pick. But the contours of it aren’t likely to make anyone jump for joy.
UPDATE: Here’s Altman on Charlie Rose from July 2009, talking about deficits and stimulus and basically coming down on the side of more stimulus, saying you can’t withdraw stimulus when the economy is weak. He also said in a Wall Street Journal article around that time that we would have to raise taxes eventually.
UPDATE II: More from Jon Cohn on Altman’s pro-business tendencies.