Ever since Chris Dodd announced his retirement from the Senate in January, my question has been: Which part of the financial industry will he sell out to?
Will he become a bank consigliere like Robert Rubin and make $15 million and claim no responsibility when his company requires hundreds of billions of dollars in government bailouts? Will he go to a hedge fund to work one day a week for $5 million a year like Larry Summers? Or will he stay in DC and lobby for Wall Street like Bob Dole and Dick Gephardt?
Let’s put it this way: the good senator ain’t going to work for the United Way.
He’s sure trying to earn that future sinecure while he still can (although he’s done plenty enough for Big Finance in his career to still garner a lifetime thank-you in the form of a cush seven-figure job).
We already knew that Dodd had publicly raised questions about Elizabeth Warren’s confirmability as Consumer Financial Protection Bureau director. But The Wall Street Journal reports today that Dodd is “waging a one-man campaign to persuade the White House to nominate anybody else.”
Mr. Dodd went so far as to ask a Republican, Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. Chairman Sheila Bair, to consider the post.
It’s certainly strange behavior for a lame duck. And he’s parroting the line of his once and future benefactors on Wall Street: That Warren doesn’t have the “managerial experience” to lead the new agency, which after all was her brainchild.
The Journal neatly juxtaposes a paraphrase of Barney Frank saying anyone who uses that line is lying: “that was just a fig leaf for people who didn’t want her in the job at all”…
… with Dodd doing just that:
In an interview, Mr. Dodd suggested he wanted a nominee with more management experience, though he didn’t mention Ms. Warren by name. The agency’s early days will prove crucial in warding off future challenges to its authority, Mr. Dodd said.
“Advocacy is important,” Mr. Dodd said, but a director needs good management skills to “give it the credibility it will need to have so it will survive.”
And you have to love this kicker:
Rep. Peter DeFazio (D., Ore.), a more-liberal member of the Democratic caucus, dismissed Mr. Dodd’s comments, calling the senator “history” and saying Mr. Dodd is pushing for a nominee bankers will accept. “I want someone that Wall Street hates.”
Anybody got a line on the Dodd-to-Wall Street sweepstakes? Somebody could get a sweet scoop with a little digging.Ryan Chittum is a former Wall Street Journal reporter, and deputy editor of The Audit, CJR's business section. If you see notable business journalism, give him a heads-up at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at @ryanchittum.