Thursday, April 3, 2008

Former Treasury Department Coordinator for President's Working Group Denies Working Group Manipulates Markets

Randal Quarles, former Under Secretary of the Treasury who led the Treasury Department's effort in the coordination of the President's Working Group on Financial Markets, and who is now a managing director at the Carlyle Group, has denied the Working Group manipulates the gold market or stock market.

Quarles spoke at a luncheon today at the Washington DC National Economists Club. During the question and answer period I asked him this question:

There have been rumors on the internet and a bit in mainstream media that the President's Working Group manipulates the gold market and stock market. Has the Working Group ever done so and do they have the funds available to do so? Secondly, have members of the Working Group ever contacted market participants to co-ordinate buying or selling in any markets?

Quarles replied "The short answer is no. No to all of it."

He then went on to state that the Working Group does not even have enough funds to buy notepads. "I had some notepads made that said President's Working Group on Financial Markets, but I paid for them with my own money."

After the Q&A session, I managed to corner him and again asked him if Working Group members ever made calls to co-ordinate market buying or selling. He said definitely not. He said that calls may be made to market participants to get market intelligence but that was it. He then went on to suggest in a casual off the cuff way that the Working Group was just various members of different regulatory agencies getting together to keep informed on markets. I then said to him that, yesterday, in questioning about the Working Group by Congressman Ron Paul, Fed chairman Ben Bernanke seemed to answer the question in the exact same casual way as though to imply that the Working Group was nothing more than some sort of collegiate-type discussion group. He laughed and said, "Yeah, that's what we are co-ordinating these days [Our responses]."

For full coverage of Quarles speech see Carlyle Group's Plan to Takeover the Banking System.

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