Anti-Lobbying v. Nationalization
posted by Lawrence Cunningham
Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner swept into office announcing tough rules restricting lobbying by bank officials of public officials in connection with distribution of federal funds to the banking sector. At the same time, talk continues about how Treasury may yet determine that it is necessary to nationalize some banks. A conflict would appear.
The lobbying rules assume that public officials and bank officials are different categories of people. But if Treasury assumes control of a bank by nationalizing one, Treasury (or some other public official) will appoint bank officials. Then it will be difficult to distinguish between public officials and bank officials. Bank officials will be public officials.
Of course, this is just one of endless anxieties that would accompany any decision to nationalize US banks. Perhaps it is a sign that the Treasury Secretary means it when he says that nationalizing banks is not a desirable course.