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Banana Republic Watch: Rodgin Cohen a Candidate for Deputy Treasury Secratary

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This tidbit comes in a Wall Street Journal story, “Top Treasury Candidates Pull Out“:

Treasury has identified and is vetting other people for top slots, including H. Rodgin Cohen, chairman of top law firm Sullivan & Cromwell LLP and an adviser to virtually every firm on Wall Street, for the deputy secretary position, two people familiar with the matter said.

Sullivan & Cromwell has long been the outside counsel for Goldman, and outside counsel is a vastly more important role for a securities firm than just about any other type of business. In the stone ages, when I worked for a few years at Goldman, certain S&C partners had so much clout at Goldman that they could get a mid-level banker fired. And even then, “Rodg”, head of the banking practice, was a very influential figure at Goldman.

After I left Goldman, I was involved in a behind the scenes role on a deal that broke new ground from a regulator standpoint. Cohen was representing the other side, the target of a minority investment. I was later told by a senior bank regulator that Cohen worked against my client’s interest in a particularly duplicitous way.

So Cohen is not only deeply tied to entrenched interests, but he plays a ruthless game, with a mild manner that would lead you not to suspect him of that sort of behavior.

In case you think this reaction is extreme, some e-mail comments from reader Marshall:

We should operate from the assumption that Geithner will always surround himself with the most awful Wall Street cronies imaginable. He’s totally captive to that ideology. This Administration is going to make Warren Harding’s Administration seem like a convention of nuns by comparison.

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32 comments

  1. Independent Accountant

    YS:
    The bloodless coup continues. “Goldman to the right of them, Goldman to the left of them, into the valley of poverty rode the American public”.

  2. alex black

    Good. Maybe if “Rodg” gets in and gains enough influence to get people fired, he’ll get Obama fired. Oh wait, then we get Biden…. with Pelosi on deck.

  3. esb

    Well, it could be worse.

    It could be Bill Gross.

    (He is already the consultant on the BAC “project” and I am sure he is advising that the “cut” should come between the simple and the trust preferreds, for obvious reasons. At least the man is shamelessly transparent.)

  4. esb

    Actually, it amazes me just how shamelessly transparent this gang actually is.

    They intend to gift out trillions to themselves and they do not believe that anything or anyone can stop them.

    And nothing can.

  5. alex black

    Can we have a contest for the best caption to the “Accounting Courses Online” ad under the article (a la the New Yorker), in which the one gray-suited “teacher” is pointing to his laptop and explaining something to the “student”? I’ll go first:

    “You don’t NEED a background in math. We just put in whatever numbers the client tells us to, so your degree in Estonian Literature is no handicap at all.”

  6. Luke Lea

    It is hard not to get angry the more one learns about this financial catastrophe. But who are the ones most responsible.

    Did someone from Morgan Stanley really approach AIG –that fellow Joe Cossana –and talk him into insuring their subprime mortgage securitizations agaist default? They must have known these were irresponsible things for AIG to be insuring, placing naked unhedged bets. Who was shrude and uscrupublous, who was gullible: which are the fools and the knaves. Did a MS person (what was his or her ame) put one over on Connaso, sort of like the pigeon drop, wowing him with the tremendous amount of money he stood to make. They say you have to have a little larceny in your heart to fall for such a scam.

  7. Anonymous

    Geithner's lack of a senior staff has raised concerns on Wall Street.

    "This doesn't help confidence," said David Wyss, chief economist at Standard & Poor's in New York. "Geithner is stuck there all by himself trying to do everything. They don't have anybody confirmed, and Treasury is a big shop to try to run with one person, especially right now."

    Wyss, who previously worked at the Federal Reserve, said the administration needed to have made a much bigger push before taking office to get people cleared to take over the top jobs at Treasury so that Geithner could assemble his team quickly.

    David Jones, head of Denver-based economic consulting firm DMJ Advisors, said that Geithner's missteps in putting together a financial rescue program and his inability to assemble a team at Treasury were raising concerns about whether the new administration's economic team is up to the challenges confronting them.

    "There is no question that Wall Street is losing patience," said Jones, who for more than three decades served as a top economist at a major bond trading firm. "If there was ever a time when we need an effective and strong Treasury secretary, it is now."

  8. Swedish Lex

    Is this the guy that recently mocked the use of the Swedish bailout as template?

    If yes, that would mean losing a big chunk of hope we all can believe in.

  9. Anonymous

    “Is this the guy that recently mocked the use of the Swedish bailout as template?

    If yes, that would mean losing a big chunk of hope we all can believe in.”

    Yes, Rodg Cohen was one of 2 big shot lawyers that mocked nationalization. The other was Adam Chinn. Both Cohen and Chinn are long time representatives of banks.

    Cohen compared use of the Swedish model to using sports strategies in the professional league because they worked well in high school.

    Cohen will fight hard against haircutting bondholders and counterparties of banks to force them to bear the cost of recapitalizing banks. Because of this alone, Cohen is unsuitable for public service. This alone means Cohen will place the interests of bondholders and swap traders ahead of the public.

  10. Anonymous

    I can easily believe this account of Rodg Cohen.

    I’m curious about one thing, Yves.

    Why do you continue to call for “bank nationalization”? It’s obvious even to dull middle schoolers that bank nationalization at present will only result in the Goldman-NYC cabal increasing their control.

  11. Anonymous

    ” can easily believe this account of Rodg Cohen. I’m curious about one thing, Yves. Why do you continue to call for “bank nationalization”? It’s obvious even to dull middle schoolers that bank nationalization at present will only result in the Goldman-NYC cabal increasing their control.”

    Yves clains it is technically correct to use the word “nationalization”. I believer it is technically incorrect because nationalization has denotations and connotations of state seizure of valuable asset and beneficial ownership therein.

    However, Yves seems to advocate c 11 or FDIC receivership where the US govt (using a judge, FDIC, or whatever) merely operates as a trustee and doesn’t take beneficial ownership of economics in the enterprise.

    Because Yves use of the term “nationalization” is incorrect, I believe Yves uses the word because she has left-ish views and wants to push a left-ish agenda of persuading people to like state ownership and control of things.

  12. Anonymous

    Calling Cuomo! Calling Cuomo!

    Rodg Cohen has represented AIG, JPM, GS, and FNM in receiving bailout money. People should write to Cuomo requesting that he investigate Cohen for lying to the public or politicians about any material aspect of the bailout. As NY AG, Cuomo could investigate Cohen for violating the NY rules of legal ethics, and if Cohen violated the rules, Cuomo could terminate Cohen’s license to practice law. If Cohen’s misleading statements to the Financial Times about Sweden’s bailout are indicative of his negotiating style in requesting bailout money, it is worth Cuomo investigating Cohen for material misrepresentations or omissions he made in getting bailout money for his clients. Cohen may be clean, but it is still worth investigating, to make sure he isn’t dirty given his ties to NY banks.

    If Cohen were disbarred from practicing law, there is no way Obama could hire Cohen to work in the US government.

  13. patrick neid

    Ok everyone, all together now, “We’re shocked”!

    As to what might be wrong with Obama–anyone who needs to travel to a PTA meeting with a teleprompter tells you everything you need to know.

  14. Anonymous

    Capitalism sucks. Doesn’t matter who’s in office, it’s the system that benefits its exploitative pushers.

  15. Anonymous

    What pictures do they have of Obama? Seriously? He is a Harvard man so he must have SOME smarts.

    He seems powerless to enact any change, just talk of it.

    And he is surrounding himself with the worst of the serial financial rapists.

    There will be blood in America….eventually.

  16. Stephen Lins

    Anon. of 7:38 AM,

    Why don’t you use your real name when you spew Antisemitism, you weasel?

  17. David Pearson

    esb,

    Bill Gross cannot join the administration. His future as an outside contractor — the main outside contractor — for the War On Nationalization is just too bright.

    Pimco is the Blackwater of the Obama administration. Okay, they won’t get blood on their hands, just maybe some green from handling all that cash.

  18. JP

    “There is no question that Wall Street is losing patience,” said Jones, …

    Overheard at a bar near the treasury:

    Person 1: In the 30s, a 90% loss in the Dow caused job security in DC. No one here gives a rat’s ass about Wall Street.

    Person 2: Do you think they’ll figure it out?

    Person 1: Nope. Their egos makes them slow learners.

  19. Anonymous

    Yep the wagons are circling ever more tightly. The elite Wall St. lawyers have been in a panic since early 2007. They have fattened themselves off the shadow banking system for the last 10 years and now that it has crumbled they are trying hard to make sure that the screwups they built relationships with and who payed their outrageous fees stay in their thrones. Ed Herlihy at Wachtell (where Adam Chinn used to be a partner in the financial institutions group), is the puppetmaster – he just released a long road-map memo which is basically Geither’s marching orders. I will send it to Yves if she would like. It would make for a very interesting blog post to parse it but it doesn’t break any new ground. I can sum it up in a few words: keep shoveling money to us and after a few years of getting us back on our feet the criminal banking system will have found a new way to make money out of thin air – and oh, accountability is for sissies.

  20. Richard

    How does anyone think that this guy with all of his conflicts of interests get through a public confirmation process? Unless this guy just utterly detached from the new reality (and from watching CNBC it is amazing how many on Wall Street are still detached), he knows that such a confirmation process turn into an “auto de fe” with himself as the central figure in the bonfire.

  21. Anonymous

    ” The elite Wall St. lawyers have been in a panic since early 2007. They have fattened themselves off the shadow banking system for the last 10 years and now that it has crumbled they are trying hard to make sure that the screwups they built relationships with and who payed their outrageous fees stay in their thrones. Ed Herlihy at Wachtell (where Adam Chinn used to be a partner in the financial institutions group), is the puppetmaster – he just released a long road-map memo which is basically Geither’s marching orders.”

    Wachtell is now making money representing UBS in refusing to give the IRS the names of 52000 tax evaders that are customers of UBS. Wachtell partners John Savarese, Ralph Levene, and Martin Arms are working for UBS on the matter. UBS is arguing it shouldn’t have to comply with DOJ demands for the names because that would violate Swiss law. Well, they violate US law if they don’t cough up the names. Why should Swiss law be an excuse for violating US law?

  22. Anonymous

    this post & the looting post above are brother & sister it seems all too clear to me now.

    it seems like this has all become an orchestrated maneuver. remember a couple weeks ago when goldman mentioned dow 6500 or something or other? they greased the wheels for the bear.

    why?
    fees baby fees.

    i've been following the horror show known as GGP. last quarter they had a 'strategic alternatives' charge of roughly $34M. guess who their financial 'advisor' is?

    golden goons suck the lifeblood out of bankrupt corporations for profit.

    this is the new business model…and the only way the vampires will be able to survive now…to delay the dawn for as long as possible…

    and yeah, cohen's the death knell. the grim reaper you might say. just look at his photo. the man looks like he hasn't seen sunlight in a good 6 centuries.

    the day cohen gets hired by the UST is the day i'm taking the first flight to china…at least the poltergeists-in-charge over there are willing to admit their corruption.

    and they're willing to admit that there is actually going to be inflation sometime soon, something that our own politburo thinks that us american sheep can't handle.

    the west is dead.
    long live the zombies.

  23. Anonymous

    “Or is Cohen an Irish name?”

    As a direct descendent of General Patrick Sarsfield I can assure you that we Irish spend way too much time on poetry, women and drink to engineer the financial rape of anything larger than our kids’ piggy banks.

  24. General Glut

    After neoliberalism comes “State financial capitalism”. It’s still too early to say whether it will be the state or finance that is in charge of the other.

  25. Anonymous

    the criminal banking system will have found a new way to make money out of thin air

    They’ve already found it. Securitizing and trading “carbon emission credits”.

    This will be greeted with thunderous applause by the same gutless downbred morons who were intimidated by the cries of “racist” when Syron, Gorelick and lower Manhattan loaded their personal accounts while destroying all mortgage lending standards.

  26. dearieme

    “What pictures do they have of Obama?” Just a photocopy of his Long Form Birth Certificate?

  27. Juan

    After neoliberalism comes “State financial capitalism”. It’s still too early to say whether it will be the state or finance that is in charge of the other.

    yep, neoliberalism, part of which content has been a long-run and global liberalizing of finance – ‘tear down those walls’ and become a mediation in our service!
    to degrees, govts have been privatized.

  28. Robert Green

    look. all of you suck. everyone who was working on wall street and in related industries. you were a bunch of money-grubbing assholes. i say as an interested outsider that the meme “all new york bankers are vermin” was strangely unpopular over the last 20 years and i could never understand why.

    after all, this was a group that looked at Oliver Stone’s movie as a template, who thought the movie Pi was a documentary, who believed that risk could be decoupled from reality, who thought that bubbles don’t kill people, high marginal tax rates do. and on and on and on. and much like the fake “but everyone thought there were WMDs in Iraq” meme–no, everyone didn’t think so, there were lots of smart people out there who disagreed–much like that meme we are supposed to pretend it was a few bad apples here or there.

    the problem is systemic. our banking system, our MBA programs, our business press (don’t get me started)–you all suck. you aren’t bright, you have terrible values, you aren’t patriotic, you don’t understand the concept of empathy.

    honestly, Year Zero is about the only thing that get you bastards to wake up. and that goes for plenty of commenters here who pretend they were noticing any of this shit when it happened. ha fucking ha.

  29. Anonymous

    We need to pass a constitutional amendment that temporarily repeals the prhibition on ex post facto laws and then make what they’ve already done a crime punishable by death. Everyone involved in the conspiracy (yes it is a conspiracy) would be punished whether they are bankers, lawyers, accountants, government hacks, media members, foundation scum and the like. We would hunt down every dime that’s been stolen and hunt financial terorist with the same fervor that we now hunt the other kinds of terrorist. No safe safe haven for financial terorist anywhere in the world. Use the drones on their palaces and estates the minute they start engaging in financial terror. Purge all Harvard, Yale, and university ofChicago pinheads from government and get them into a deprogramming facility. This should get me added to some more mossad/nsa lists. http://www.APLANFORUS.com

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