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.