Geithner Confirmed as Treasury Secretary

Tim Geithner is now officially Obama’s Secretary of Treasury.

New York Federal Reserve Bank President Timothy Geithner won confirmation Monday as President Barack Obama’s treasury secretary despite personal tax lapses that turned more than a third of the Senate against him.

The 60-34 vote put Geithner at the helm of Obama’s economic team as it races to halt the worst financial slide in generations.

In swift order reflecting the urgency, Obama attended Geithner’s swearing in Monday evening at the Treasury Department. White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said Geithner has made amends — he has paid the taxes and penalties — and possesses the talent needed to steer the nation out of the crisis.

While less sure that Geithner’s transgressions were an “innocent mistake” than I was when the news came to light, it never occurred to me that he wouldn’t or shouldn’t be confirmed. Indeed, had anyone suggested a few weeks ago that fully a third of the Senate would vote against him, it would have seemed absurd.

That leaves Attorney General-designate Eric Holder as the only senior level appointment whose confirmation is even slightly in doubt. Barring the coming to light of startling new evidence, though, he’ll pass muster, too.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is a Security Studies professor at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. tom p says:

    That leaves Attorney General-designate Eric Holder as the only senior level appointment whose confirmation is even slightly in doubt. Barring the coming to light of startling new evidence, though, he’ll pass muster, too.

    Considering that the questions before him are along the lines of, “Will you prosecute people who have broken the law?” I expect the degeneracy of the GOP to continue.

  2. Maggie Mama says:

    Please Dr. JJ. we now have the fox guarding the hen house.

    Want to bet that O’Reilly at Fox News gets audited every year again now that the Dems are back in control?

    The POTUS is “calling out” a radio talk show host. From the White House. Want to put money on Limbaugh’s audit odds?

    Pelosi doesn’t even know what “corruption” means even though she couldn’t seem to utter one sentence in 2006 that didn’t contain the phrase “Culture of…”.

  3. markm says:

    “Culture of…”.

    That is sooo 2006. It’s now “drain the swamp”.
    And while on the subject, it appears that Barney Frank is the latest added to the growing list of those that need to be drained.

  4. So if, God forbid, I am hauled before the tax courts and accused of not paying taxes, can I plead a Geithner defense? Of course not. For I am one of those saps who continues to pay a large portion of my income to the government. I am not one of the liberal elite who can simple say “I forgot” and then be shielded by fellow liberal sheep from the consequences of my actions.

  5. Grewgills says:

    So if, God forbid, I am hauled before the tax courts and accused of not paying taxes, can I plead a Geithner defense?

    and you to will almost certainly get the Geitner penalty, that is you will have to pay back taxes and penalties just like the many many others who get busted for some variation of the same every year.
    What special treatment was there? Do people normally have to do more than pay back taxes along with interest and penalties? My understanding is no. So, unless I am very wrong on this he received exactly no special treatment.

  6. peterh says:

    Sen. Mike Enzi, R-Wyo…… “The Senate,” he scolded, “is not supposed to be a group of ‘yes’ men.”

    ROTFLMAO……Awwww…. “a moment of clarity”…..when no longer relevant……heck, the Dems, for the most part, don’t even need to threaten with the “nuke option”…..not that any party has done that before…..

  7. RW Rogers says:

    So, unless I am very wrong on this he received exactly no special treatment.

    ROFLMAO! Why don’t you try the same scam four years running and see what happens? You’ll probably discover there is no statute of limitations for tax fraud, however.

  8. just me says:

    I have no doubt that Geithner got the kid glove treatment, and I have no doubt that if Obama was a republican Geithner never would have gotten to a committee hearing. The media and democrats would have cried foul long before then.

    I don’t necessarily think Geithner will be horrible or incompetent, but the double standard bugs me.

  9. James Joyner says:

    What special treatment was there? Do people normally have to do more than pay back taxes along with interest and penalties? My understanding is no. So, unless I am very wrong on this he received exactly no special treatment.

    As a general rule, however, said people are not then immediately appointed to run the Treasury Department and thereby put in charge of the IRS.

  10. Joey Buzz says:

    Actually this is good news….Turbo Tax know has a “Timmy G $34K deferred payment plan” check box option.

  11. tom p says:

    Actually this is good news….Turbo Tax know has a “Timmy G $34K deferred payment plan” check box option.

    hahaheehee…

  12. Joey Buzz says:

    sorry that should have been “now”…instead of “know”…got carried away with the snark.

  13. Grewgills says:

    ROFLMAO! Why don’t you try the same scam four years running and see what happens? You’ll probably discover there is no statute of limitations for tax fraud, however.

    and

    I have no doubt that Geithner got the kid glove treatment, and I have no doubt that if Obama was a republican Geithner never would have gotten to a committee hearing.

    For simple mistakes like his if the person pays the back taxes with penalties found by the audit the matter is considered finished. You may feel that this disqualifies him to head the IRS, but to argue that he would otherwise be in jail is silly.

    The media and democrats would have cried foul long before then.

    The Dems probably would have done so for the same partisan reasons that Reps have. What else was in the news cycle would likely have determined what the MSM ran with.

    As a general rule, however, said people are not then immediately appointed to run the Treasury Department and thereby put in charge of the IRS.

    True enough and though I disagree that those mistakes should disqualify him it is fair comment. What I find annoying is the constant whine among some on the right that he would be in jail if only he had an R after his name.

  14. Franklin says:

    The solace is that Obama’s team found the problem, reported it to the relevant committee, and had the back taxes and fines paid as quickly as possible.

    Whether it was an innocent mistake and whether this should disqualify him from effectively being in charge of the IRS are open questions. I am actually pleased, though, that the vote was closer than expected. At the very least, it should put Geithner on notice.