This kind of thing really gives me the willies:
Lawrence Summers, the chairman of President Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers, collected roughly $5.2 million in compensation from hedge fund D.E. Shaw over the past year and was paid more than $2.7 million in speaking fees from several troubled Wall Street firms and other organizations.[….]
Summers, a leading architect of the administration’s economic policies and response to the global recession, appears to have collected the most income. Financial institutions including JP Morgan, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, Lehman Brothers and Merrill Lynch paid Summers for speaking appearances in 2008. Fees ranged from $45,000 for a Nov. 12 Merrill Lynch appearance to $135,000 for an April 16 visit to Goldman Sachs, according to his disclosure form.
The Geithner-Summers plan to continue with TARP-buying (as opposed to nationalizing) is very popular with the firms that paid Summers all that money over the past year. Maybe it’s the right plan anyway. But these kinds of things sure look like de facto bribes to me.