Obama Aide Declines Visit to Bank Board – New York Times (7/20/09)
The White House chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, has decided not to speak to the board of JPMorgan Chase when it meets here on Monday, he said Sunday after considering the invitation for several days.
Mr. Emanuel is a longtime acquaintance of the bank’s chairman and chief executive, Jamie Dimon, who previously headed BankOne in Chicago, where he met some influential Democrats, including Mr. Emanuel and President Obama.
Because of his relationship with Mr. Dimon, Mr. Emanuel agreed to consider JPMorgan’s invitation after the Treasury secretary, Timothy F. Geithner, declined out of concern that he would appear too cozy with a company that has numerous business and regulatory dealings with his department.
Mr. Emanuel first sought advice from the White House counsel’s office about the propriety of meeting with the bank’s board. Mr. Emanuel said Sunday evening that the White House counsel held him to the same standard as Mr. Geithner when it came to avoiding what might be seen as a conflict of interest.
Obama administration ethics rules:
Staffing the administration with their best buddies, and then shoveling billions of dollars via multiple above- and below-the-radar conduits and going easy on regulation: not a conflict.
Merely speaking at a single board meeting: TOXIC CONFLICT OF INTEREST!