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Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Journalist Asks ‘Is Jack Lew A Friend To Wall Street?’

This Feb. 15, 2011 photo shows White House Chief of Staff Jack Lew testifying on Capitol Hill in Washington. (J. Scott Applewhite/AP)

This Feb. 15, 2011 photo shows White House Chief of Staff Jack Lew testifying on Capitol Hill in Washington. (J. Scott Applewhite/AP)

President Obama’s Chief of Staff and former budget director Jack Lew is well on his way to becoming Treasury Secretary.

The U.S. Senate is expected to approve his nomination in a vote that could come as early as Wednesday.

But Lew’s critics say that during the confirmation process, senators should have asked him tougher questions about his connections to Wall Street, particularly Wall Street titan Robert Rubin.

Lew was a top budget official in the Clinton administration when Robert Rubin was Clinton’s Treasury Secretary and brought about the bank deregulation that helped lead to the 2008 financial crisis.

Lew went on to work under Rubin at Citigroup. So, his critics say, Lew must be another Rubinite, like Tim Geithner before him, who will keep the status quo on Wall Street.

Journalist Michael Hirsh profiles Lew in a piece called “Is Jack Lew a friend to Wall Street?

He writes that Lew may be the most liked and admired men in Washington but he, like Rubin before him, will probably not tamper too much with Wall Street.

Hirsh says Lew has said very little about finance and “what he has said has raised suspicions that he is indeed of the same mindset as Robert Rubin, Tim Geithner and others who have not been willing to blame the deregulation that they themselves oversaw in the late 90s, which really started a whole process by which Wall Street was allowed to run wild.”

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Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

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