Fed Hires Former Enron Lobbyist to Burnish Its Image

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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.

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  1. attempter

    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..

    I admit I'm not 100% clear on what Bloomberg is. Is this sentence supposed to be objective journalism?

    One strong piece of evidence for the fundamental terminal rot of the system and of American morals in general is that it seems to be universally agreed that there's no shame in being a paid liar for any client. No matter how vile the cause for which you shill, e.g. Enron, you remain a respectable member of society.

    If WW2 were ending today and they took Goebbels alive, would it even occur to them to charge him with war crimes? Or would everyone be looking to hire him? Propaganda spinning is morally neutral, everyone agrees.

  2. skippy

    If all our financial captains and their minions were squirrels, they would be fertilizer by spring, but hay think of all the new trees we would have.

    Skippy…may their carcases feed the new greenery, bring on the new spring sooooon!

  3. Gentlemutt

    Hmmm. More of Robert Rubin's proteges being embedded. Just what we the people do not need.

  4. Valentine Michael Smith

    Don't you just love "the energy trading company that collapsed in 2002 after an accounting scandal?"

    The Savings & Loan Scandal was also a "scandal."

    How about "the Bernie Madoff Scandal?" Or "the Iraq WMD Scandal?" Or" the Abu Ghraib Scandal?" Where does scandal end? What level of fraud or abomination constitutes "Scandal" rather than criminality.

    If the fraud is big enough….

    No one goes to jail in a "scandal."

  5. Doc Holiday

    I can see why The Fed needs burnishing:

    ""The bond market is calling the Federal Reserve out," said Mike Larson, a real estate analyst at Weiss Research Inc. in Jupiter, Fla. "Investors are saying that the Fed can't just print money out of thin air to finance a massive deficit."

    Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke acknowledged Wednesday in congressional testimony that large budget deficits could threaten financial stability by eventually eroding investor confidence and endangering the economy's prospects for long-term health.

    "Even as we take steps to address the recession and threats to financial stability, maintaining the confidence of the financial markets requires that we, as a nation, begin planning now for the restoration of fiscal balance," Bernanke told the House Budget Committee.

    That kind of talk is meant to calm bond investors' nerves. It also shows the quandary faced by Bernanke and other federal officials. They need to hold down interest rates through massive government spending at the same time they have to deal with worries over how that spending could damage the economy over the long term."

    > The Fed is a rusted pile of trash!

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