The Journal’s Geithner-Gets-Mad Scoop

The Journal has a juicy scoop this morning on the goings-on inside the Obama administration.

It seems Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner flipped his lid on Friday, cussing out Ben Bernanke, Sheila Bair, Mary Schapiro, and others for dithering over the details of his financial-reform plan.

Friday’s roughly hourlong meeting was described as unusual, not only because of Mr. Geithner’s repeated use of obscenities, but because of the aggressive posture he took with officials from federal agencies generally considered independent of the White House. Mr. Geithner reminded attendees that the administration and Congress set policy, not the regulatory agencies.

So get in line, buster(s): The days of “Team of Rivals” style governance are over!

I think the Journal does a nice job of putting its scoop into the context of the internal and external debates.

And this is interesting:

Officials from the Federal Reserve and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, meanwhile, have questioned the creation of a new federal agency to oversee consumer regulations, a move that would take away powers from both institutions.

Was Geithner not so subtly telling Fed Chairman Bernanke, who’s supposed to be politically independent of the administration, to get in line? After all, Bernanke’s term is up in less than five months and he probably wants Obama to renominate him.

It will be interesting to see how Bernanke behaves. So far, as Reuters’ Rolfe Winkler points out, it hasn’t shut up Sheila Bair (h/t Felix Salmon).

She has the bonus of being right about being very wary about concentrating more power in the hands of the Federal Reserve, which is about as undemocratic-but-already-powerful an institution as we have in this country.

All that’s interesting, but I know what you’re really interested in: Let’s play Who Leaked the Timmy Tirade!

You’ve got two reporters on the WSJ byline. Banking-regulation reporter Damian Paletta has the lead byline, sharing it with Treasury reporter Deborah Solomon. If Treasury leaked it to make Geithner look tough, you’d think Solomon would have the lead byline.

Bair is talking noise about the administration in Congress today.

I’m going to say FDIC Chairwoman Sheila Bair.

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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 Follow him on Twitter at @ryanchittum.