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Bernanke Looks To Hire Former Enron Chief Lobbyist To Boost The Fortunes Of The Federal Reserve (Hunter S. Thompson Weird)



As Hunter Thompson wrote once, "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro."  Life imitates art this afternoon as Bloomberg is reporting that B-52 and the Federal Reserve will soon be hiring a veteran lobbyist to fight the Ron Paul-Alan Grayson machine.  Wait, it gets weirder.  She is Linda Robertson, the former head of Washington lobbying for Enron.  Pause for impact.  Thompson would be proud.

On the very bright side, we now have exquisite proof that Bernanke is rattled.  Nassim Taleb and Dean Baker have called for his head.  Ron Paul is on a personal seek and destroy mission.  Paul's bill to audit the Federal Reserve is still stuck in Barney Frank's committee.  H.R. 1207, as its known, has more than 190 co-sponsors at last count.  The Federal Reserve is frightened of transparency and truth.  Congressman Alan Grayson put a bulls-eye on the Inspector General, Elizabeth Coleman, last month.  The walls are tightening on the private banking cabal and their imbalance sheet of junk assets.  Recent speeches by regional Presidents Thomas Hoenig and Richard Fisher demonstrate that agreement on policy is no longer uniform.  These are the most perilous times for the Federal Reserve since the 30s.

After the jump we have the details from Bloomberg.

From Bloomberg:

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, now senior fellow with the Cato Institute in Washington.

Robertson served under Treasury Secretaries Lawrence Summers, Robert Rubin and Lloyd Bentsen. She didn’t return calls seeking comment.

Summers Tie

Summers now heads the White House National Economic Council. Along with Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, he is leading Obama administration efforts to broaden the economic rescue and overhaul financial regulation. He has been mentioned as a possible successor to Fed Chairman Ben S. Bernanke should Bernanke not be renominated when his term ends in January.

Robertson is likely to start at the Fed in July and have the title of senior adviser to the Board of Governors, the people familiar with the situation said.

She was considered for a senior post under Geithner at the Treasury but ran up against the Obama administration’s restrictions on hiring lobbyists, the people said.

“People have been asking whether the Fed is capable of getting its job done right,” said Lynn Turner, a former chief accountant at the Securities and Exchange Commission. “Hiring a former lobbyist from Enron will surely make one wonder.”

Lawmaker Pressure

Robertson would confront a range of issues in the newly created position. Congress is looking to subject the Fed to more scrutiny, and some lawmakers have suggested that district bank presidents should be confirmed by the Senate.

Some legislators have also expressed opposition to the Obama administration’s attempt to make the Fed the regulator in charge of financial companies deemed too-big-to-fail.

In addition, the central bank has been become a target to some members of Congress who’ve posted online videos of their interrogations of Fed officials during public hearings.

One YouTube clip, of Florida Democratic Representative Alan Grayson’s grilling of Inspector General Elizabeth Coleman, has garnered almost 500,000 views in about a month.

Robertson is expected to advise the Fed on communications strategy, the people said. In recent months, Bernanke has pushed to make the traditionally secretive institution more open. He’s done a television interview with CBS’s “60 Minutes” program and taken questions from reporters at a National Press Club function in Washington.

According to her biography on the Johns Hopkins Web site, Robertson has spent more than 25 years working on federal legislative issues.

While Robertson’s Hopkins biography makes no mention of her work at Enron, federal disclosure documents show she joined the company in 2000 after working at the Treasury. Robertson, who signed some of the forms, said she lobbied on energy and tax issues.


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Reader Comments (10)

As usual, great job with the commentary and photos. Your stories are unlike any other financial reporting I read on the web. You have a unique and formidable style. Keep it up.
Jun 5, 2009 at 5:41 PM | Unregistered CommenterPuzo
Ditto that. The writing is top-notch. The style is unique. And you know how I feel about the bailouts. I really hope something comes of all this. You deserve it.
Jun 5, 2009 at 6:56 PM | Unregistered CommenterJames H
Don't fault the Fed for this move. All you rabble rousers have been complaining that the government and Fed are being infiltrated by Goldman Sachs alumni. So they picked an Enron alum this time! Who else is there? The talent pool is small. When you subtract current and past employees of the vaunted Goldman Sachs, that leaves what, 4 Americans who are capable of reading, writing, and arithmetic?
Jun 6, 2009 at 1:42 PM | Unregistered CommenterAssassin
104, Assassin, the answer is 104. (You forgot to carry your one when you added "former" GS employess working in government to current GS employees not yet working in government.) But stick around, we know you're a wannabe "rabble rouser," too, even if you like to play it cool sometimes.
Jun 6, 2009 at 2:46 PM | Unregistered Commenterclawback
LOL @ assassin
Jun 6, 2009 at 2:59 PM | Unregistered CommenterMemememe
"Recent speeches by regional Presidents Thomas Hoenig and Richard Fisher demonstrate that agreement on policy is no longer uniform."

As for Hoenig, the emphasis should be on "recent." By contrast, Fisher is a historic stalwart in favor of economic reality, disagreeing with Greenspan...at times. The other eleven Fed Presidents are more-or-less windsocks. The FOMC operates on the basis of 'consensus'.
Jun 8, 2009 at 9:46 AM | Unregistered CommenterDanS
I like Assassin's humor as well. And DanS is correct. Hoenig has begun to speak up only recently. I remember some quotes from him last year that echoed the bailout siren call of all the others. So, good point. But even late to the truth party, he is welcome.

As for Fisher, the guy is a stalwart of reality. He recently said our unfunded liabilities have crossed $100 trillion. That is some serious shit.
Jun 8, 2009 at 1:42 PM | Registered CommenterDailyBail
"Ditto that. The writing is top-notch. The style is unique. And you know how I feel about the bailouts. I really hope something comes of all this. You deserve it. "

Thanks, James for your kind words. In the back of my head I have thought about a return to television financial news. The only show I have any interest in working for would be Dylan Ratigan's new show on MSNBC. I have been told in an email (by a third party) that he reads this site, so perhaps I wll try to get in touch with him at some point soon. Not sure I have any interest in moving back to NYC however. Washington DC would be much preferred.

Anyone heard any details on Ratigan's upcoming MSNBC show?
Jun 8, 2009 at 1:46 PM | Registered CommenterDailyBail

Here's hoping you receive a call from Dylan Ratigan's producers. In the meantime, keep up your fantastic work on this site. ;)
Jun 9, 2009 at 6:25 PM | Unregistered Commenterspideydouble
Thanks Spidey. Hope you had a nice break.
Jun 10, 2009 at 1:55 AM | Registered CommenterDailyBail

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