Optics-obsessed Washington’s latest issue is a lack of women in high profile positions in the Obama Administration. The issue for Obama previously was not a lack of women but their treatment in his administration. Regardless, the President has now floated two women for positions within his administration.
President Barack Obama is considering two women for senior economic positions, weighing Ruth Porat, chief financial officer at Morgan Stanley (MS), for deputy Treasury secretary and Wal-Mart Foundation President Sylvia Mathews Burwell for budget director, according to people familiar with the matter.
Porat is a leading candidate for the number two position at Treasury and would bring deeper market experience than Jack Lew, Obama’s choice for Treasury secretary, according to one of the people. She would also provide gender balance on an economics team dominated by men, said the people, who requested anonymity to discuss personnel matters that haven’t been announced.
In her role as CFO at Morgan Stanley Porat has been one of the leaders in killing the Dodd-Frank regulations behind closed doors. Not surprising given her job and interests. It would be odd to put someone so antagonistic to Wall Street reform in such a high profile role, or are those the real optics Obama is concerned with.
Consider, according to the Sunlight Foundation Morgan-Stanley CFO Porat met with regulators nine times on the Dodd-Frank rules:
* 2012-03-27: Met with the Federal Reserve to express concerns on bank capital rules
* 2012-04-30: Met with the Federal Reserve to claim surcharges for Too Big To Fail banks were not necessary. Later also said regulating derivatives would hurt liquidity.
* 2011-12-14: Met with the Federal Reserve to ask for more lenient disclosure requirements for Morgan Stanley
* 2010-10-28: Met with the Federal Reserve to push back on Volker Rule and for more flexibility on Proprietary Trading
* 2010-11-02: Met with Treasury on the CFPB (no disclosures on meeting’s purpose)
* 2011-02-01: Met with Treasury on Capital and Liquidity (no disclosures on meeting’s purpose)
* 2011-05-03: Met with Treasury on the Volker Rule (no disclosures on meeting’s purpose)
* 2011-07-07: Met with Treasury on Derivatives (no disclosures on meeting’s purpose)
* 2011-01-05: Met with FDIC on Volker Rule (no disclosures on meeting’s purpose)
Remember, what is important here is that Obama is bringing more women into his administration – who those women are and what they do is apparently irrelevant. Wall Street prevails.