This development, that the Federal Reserve has hired one Linda Robertson, former Enron lobbyist and Summers/Rubin protege, to manage relations with the Hill, strikes me as a tacit admission that the Fed thinks it has an Enron scale problem brewing….
From Bloomberg (hat tip reader Matt S):
The Federal Reserve intends to hire a veteran lobbyist as it seeks to counter skepticism in Congress about the central bank’s growing power over the U.S. financial system, people familiar with the matter said.
Linda Robertson currently handles government, community and public affairs at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, and headed the Washington lobbying office of Enron Corp., the energy trading company that collapsed in 2002 after an accounting scandal. She was also an adviser to all three of the Clinton administration’s Treasury secretaries.
Robertson would help the Fed manage relations with lawmakers seeking greater oversight of a central bank that has used emergency powers to prevent Wall Street’s demise. While she wasn’t tied to Enron’s fraud, her association with the firm may raise questions, analysts said.
“Some members of Congress think there are votes in attacking the Fed” after it “unnecessarily and unwisely entangled monetary policy with fiscal policy,” said former St. Louis Fed President William Poole. “The Fed is going to have a tricky time of unwinding what has been done” and will need to “keep in touch with members of Congress more thoroughly,” said Poole.
Wow, did you catch Poole’s spin? No, it isn’t that the Fed is acting as Willem Buiter, who has no votes to garner, put it, as a “quasi fiscal agent of the Treasury,” is engaging in shameless regulatory arbitrage and is taking measures “highly undesirable” for a democratic from of government. No, Poole goes to straight ad hominem attack because the facts are not favorable to the Fed.