Yesterday we told you that the White House chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, had been invited to speak to speak to the board of JP Morgan Chase during its unprecedented meeting in Washington today. Now the New York Times is reporting that Emanuel has declined the invitation, citing conflicts of interest.
Emanuel turned down the invite on the advice of the White House counsel. Earlier Tim Geithner had declined an invitation to speak to the board out of concern that he would appear to “too cozy” with the bank.
But meeting or not, JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon has the closest ties in the banking sector to Obama’s administration. When he was running BankOne in Chicago, Dimon met some influential Democrats, including Emanuel and Obama himself. Dimon has long been a Democratic donor, which sets him apart in an industry often considered more GOP oriented. (Although in the last elections cycle, many top bankers supported New York Senator Hilary Clinton, and Goldman Sachs is notoriously Democrat oriented.)
The Times point out that the head of “government relations” at JP Morgan is none other than Chicago political scion William M. Daley, who was an Obama campaign strategist and served as commerce secretary in the Clinton administration. Since 2004, Daly has been a vice chairman of JPMorgan and head of its Midwest operations.
The Times heavily implies that Emanuel decided to turn down the invitation after the New York Times wrotes about it yesterday. Saying that the “decision came after a New York Times article on Sunday about Mr. Dimon’s heightened profile and influence in Washington amid an economic crisis that has humbled much of the industry, both financially and politically. The report cited the initial expectation that Mr. Emanuel would speak to the JPMorgan board as an example of Mr. Dimon’s political influence.”
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