Sunday, January 24, 2010

When There's a Financial Crisis, Who Is Tim Geithner Going to Call?

We now know.

WaPo has the breakdown:
On the frenzied day in September 2008 when the federal government bailed out insurance giant American International Group, Timothy F. Geithner logged dozens of calls with top Wall Street executives, Washington regulators, political leaders and even investor Warren Buffett.

At the time, the Treasury secretary was head of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, which played a lead role in organizing AIG's rescue. His call logs, obtained by The Washington Post, are among 250,000 pages of documents the New York Fed recently turned over in response to a subpoena from the chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.

Records show that Geithner participated in nearly 70 calls between 7:45 a.m. and 10 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 16, as officials worked to stabilize AIG -- first through private loans and finally through public assistance. They feared the company's collapse might trigger other failures and endanger the financial system.

Geithner spoke most often to Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke and then-Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson Jr., as well as with AIG chief executive Robert Willumstad. He also shared numerous calls with top financial executives, including Lloyd Blankfein of Goldman Sachs, Jamie Dimon of J.P. Morgan Chase and Vikram Pandit of Citigroup.

At 10:16 a.m., documents show, Geithner spoke briefly with Berskshire Hathaway chief executive Warren E. Buffett. Buffett later said he was offered multiple chances to help rescue AIG before its bailout, but he declined.

In addition, Geithner spoke that day to regulators including Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Christopher Cox, Office of Thrift Supervision Director John M. Reich and New York Insurance Superintendent Eric R. Dinallo. He also talked with New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Charles O'Byrne, a top aide to New York Gov. David A. Paterson
As WaPo notes, 70 phone calls all appearing to be related to AIG makes it tough for Geithner to claim that he wasn't that involved in the AIG bailout and, thus, had nothing to do with the censoring of the details of AIG's bailout.

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