New York (HedgeCo.Net) – Lawrence Summers, who is currently serving as Director of President Obama’s National Economic Council, made millions from his days working as a managing director for hedge fund D.E. Shaw & Co.
The New York-based hedge fund, which oversees about $36 billion in capital, paid the former Treasury Secretary about $5.2 million over the course of 16 months starting in 2006. And that’s not including bonuses.
According to a financial disclosure released by the White House on Friday, Summers also raked in around $2.7 million in speaking fees for appearances at banks like Citigroup and Goldman Sachs. Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc., who collapsed last year, paid Summers over $67,000 for one appearance this past July.
For an administration that wants to convey their dedication and support of increased regulation and the all-out war on corruption and excessive executive pay in corporate America, many feel the President may be choosing individuals who don’t necessarily share that view, at least not privately.
Carol Browner, the White House Energy Policy Coordinator, is another member of the administration no stranger to hedge funds. She still holds an interest in Albright Capital Management LLC, a hedge fund founded by former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. Browner said her holdings were worth between $450,000 and $1 million, and said she earned $450,000 last year by working for Albright Group LLC, a related consulting firm. She is still owed between $350,000 and $750,000 in member distributions.
David Axelrod, former Chief Strategist for the Obama campaign and now the President’s Senior Advisor, was paid a $1.55 million salary when he worked for a public affairs firm. According to those same disclosures, White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel held about 1,000 shares of American International Group, Inc., although he claims he currently does not hold any shares of the company that was bailed out by taxpayer funded government aid.
Despite the big pay days, the conflicts of interest that potentially exist may play a bigger role in public dismay. In addition to his $3.9 million salary at a law firm, Deputy White House National Security Adviser Thomas Donilon represented clients such as Citigroup, Goldman Sachs and hedge fund Apollo Management LLP. He also worked for Fannie Mae from 1999 to 2005.
“It just may be the reason that money keeps being thrown at banks and companies who have proven they are undeserving, is because the administration, like every single other administration, is stacked full of the same, rich people who would rather dole out money to their own than to the Americans who really need it,” said one blogger who remained anonymous.
The White House contends there is no current conflict of interest with any cabinet member. Speaking of Summers, White House spokesman Ben LaBolt said he “has been at the forefront of this administration’s work to shore up our nation’s financial system and to put in place a regulatory framework that will strengthen the financial system.”
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