Tim Geithner the former President of the New York Federal Reserve Bank  and Obama’s choice for Treasury Secretary is under hot water today and his confirmation appears to be less of a fait accompli than one would have thought a few weeks ago.

Apparently Geithner employed a housekeeper whose immigration papers expired for a few months. He also had some back taxes that he only paid to the IRS after the Obama vetting team discovered the issue. As Treasury Secretary, he will oversee the IRS.

Not a big deal one might say, but there are other issues surfacing about Geithner tenure at the New York Fed. Politico is reporting that under Geithner’s watch, companies like CitiGroup which were supposed to be held to the highest regulatory standard were allowed to  blow “billions on subprime mortgages and other risky deals that ultimately forced the biggest bank rescue in U.S. history.” If he could not keep an eye on these companies in his home state, how would he handle it at the national level?

Will any of this hamper his confirmation? probably not because of the dire economic circumstances. Nobody on The Hill wants the country to go on too long without anybody steering the the economy.  But when added to the Bill Richardson withdrawal and the Blagojevich/Burris shenanigans it presents some distractions that some Republicans could latch on to. 

Then again, maybe the inauguration celebrations will overshadow a lot of this and set the Obama ship smoothly sailing along.

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Boy, how  things just tend to happen when nobody is paying attention, huh!

Let’s see, since most of North America took a break to open presents, eat too much, drink too much and generally stay away from anything of importance, the following important things happened:

1- Israel & Hamas decided to start another mini-war

2-Rod Blagojevich gave the finger to the whole Democratic party by nominating Roland Burris to the US Senate

3-Bill Richardson withdrew as Obama’s Commerce Secretary because of corruption investigations

4-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid more or less reiterated his belief that George W. Bush is the worst President the United States ever had.

5-Obama proposed a ginormous stimulus package with a mix of personal and business tax cuts as well as job creating infrastructure programs.

 6-Roland Burris went to the US Senate and was refused a seat

7-Leon Panetta was mentionned as Obama’s pick for CIA chief much to the chagrin of many including Senate Inteligence Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein

8-Sanjay Gupta (of CNN fame) was floated as a possible Surgeon General of the United States

9-Al Franken almost won a senate seat in Minnesota

What to say about any of these? Well, maybe one word here and there would do for now. We all just got back,right?

On the Burris issue, I would say either way the Democrats play this, they’re in for a lengthy legal battle unless either Burris chooses to withdraw or is somehow “bought out”. But it seems that by all legal accounts,  as the still governor of Illinois,Rod Blagojevic was fully entitled to make the nomination. How this plays politically though,… well,…

On Richardson withdrawing, it is truly sad, because I would have liked him as Secretary of State instead of Clinton. But in politics, illusions tend to be reality more so than in other environments.  And as such, even talk of an investigation was enough to prevent Richardson from coming back to Washington. Too bad. Hopefully Obama gets a second term and he could serve then.

On Israel and Hamas, I have nothing to add other than this is just another battle in a long war that will never end unless a President of the United States is willing to stake his presidency on resolving the conflict.

Let’s hope Obama is thatPresident.

The Obama Transition Team finally releases its report on who contacted Blagojevich. The report is available here.

No surprises that it finds nothing wrong with its actions. This was always a charade anyway. It has no bearing on the legal proceedings and it certainly has nothing to do with Blagojevich’s guilt or innocence. This is more about the Obama team proclaining to the world: “This guy is a scumbag and the worst thing here was that we talked to him!”