Treasury Pick Jack Lew Faces Senate Grilling on Caymans, Bonus

Confirmation Looks Certain Despite Big CItigroup Payout

getty images

By Reuters

Published February 13, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

Jack Lew, President Barack Obama’s nominee to lead the U.S. Treasury Department, faces a grilling about a big bonus he received from Citigroup and his plans for the government’s finances when he testifies before a Senate panel on Wednesday.

Lew, a 57-year-old New Yorker who is White House chief of staff, is a budget wonk who would rather avoid television cameras, Obama has said.

But he will be in the spotlight on Wednesday over his own finances, namely a $940,000 bonus he received in January 2009 after a brief stint at Citigroup, just before the bank received a taxpayer-funded bailout.

Republicans on the Senate Finance Committee, which will vet Lew for Treasury secretary, also plan to ask him about his role at the Wall Street bank, especially as chief operating officer of Citi Alternative Investments.

“If taxpayers are going to prop up failed banks, they have a right to know what a key executive like Mr. Lew did at that time,” Senator Orrin Hatch, the ranking Republican on the Finance Committee, said in a statement.

Lew and others familiar with his work at Citi have said his role was largely administrative and was separate from any financial portfolio decisions. In remarks prepared for delivery to the Senate panel and obtained by Reuters, Lew said his work at Citi focused on “trying to drive organizational change.”

Nonetheless, Lew’s confirmation hearing will serve as a battlefield in the budget wars that have divided Washington. The senior Republican on the Senate Budget Committee, Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama, has already said Lew is unfit to serve.

However, there is no widespread opposition to the nomination and with Democrats controlling the Senate 53-45, Lew is widely expected to win confirmation later this month.

At the hearing, Republicans also plan to focus on a $56,000 investment Lew once had in a Citigroup venture capital fund registered in the Cayman Islands.

Obama criticized such offshore accounts when he campaigned for re-election last year. But the White House said the investment should not get in the way of Lew’s confirmation given that it was already known when he was confirmed for two other government positions, including White House budget chief.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • The Workmen's Circle is hosting New York’s first Jewish street fair on Sunday. Bring on the nouveau deli!
  • Novelist Sayed Kashua finds it hard to write about the heartbreak of Gaza from the plush confines of Debra Winger's Manhattan pad. Tough to argue with that, whichever side of the conflict you are on.
  • "I’ve never bought illegal drugs, but I imagine a small-time drug deal to feel a bit like buying hummus underground in Brooklyn."
  • We try to show things that get less exposed to the public here. We don’t look to document things that are nice or that people would like. We don’t try to show this place as a beautiful place.”
  • A new Gallup poll shows that only 25% of Americans under 35 support the war in #Gaza. Does this statistic worry you?
  • “You will stomp us into the dirt,” is how her mother responded to Anya Ulinich’s new tragicomic graphic novel. Paul Berger has a more open view of ‘Lena Finkle’s Magic Barrel." What do you think?
  • PHOTOS: Hundreds of protesters marched through lower Manhattan yesterday demanding an end to American support for Israel’s operation in #Gaza.
  • Does #Hamas have to lose for there to be peace? Read the latest analysis by J.J. Goldberg.
  • This is what the rockets over Israel and Gaza look like from space:
  • "Israel should not let captives languish or corpses rot. It should do everything in its power to recover people and bodies. Jewish law places a premium on pidyon shvuyim, “the redemption of captives,” and proper burial. But not when the price will lead to more death and more kidnappings." Do you agree?
  • Slate.com's Allison Benedikt wrote that Taglit-Birthright Israel is partly to blame for the death of American IDF volunteer Max Steinberg. This is why she's wrong:
  • Israeli soldiers want you to buy them socks. And snacks. And backpacks. And underwear. And pizza. So claim dozens of fundraising campaigns launched by American Jewish and Israeli charities since the start of the current wave of crisis and conflict in Israel and Gaza.
  • The sign reads: “Dogs are allowed in this establishment but Zionists are not under any circumstances.”
  • Is Twitter Israel's new worst enemy?
  • More than 50 former Israeli soldiers have refused to serve in the current ground operation in #Gaza.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.