Obama Treasury Sec. Took Gift Valued at Thousands from Banking Exec

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Former-Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner lived rent-free in a townhouse belonging to a top banking executive, while serving in former-President Barack Obama’s cabinet.

Geithner lived with Daniel Zelikow, a friend from college, for the first eight months of his tenure at the Treasury department in 2009.

Roughly a year after Geithner moved out of the house, Zelikow accepted a position at international banking giant JPMorgan Chase as head of the company’s International Public Sector Group, which sets up foreign governments as clients.

Zelikow had previously worked at JPMorgan in a different executive position until 2007 when he left to be the executive vice president and CEO of Inter-American Development Bank, which finances health, education and infrastructure projects in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Zelikow was still at the position when Geithner became Treasury Secretary and moved in with him.

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New York University law professor and government ethics expert Stephen Gillers called Geithner’s decision to move in with Zelikow “just awful.”

“Dan has been a close friend to Secretary Geithner since they met at college more than 25 years ago,” then-Treasury Spokesman Andrew Williams said in Augst 2009, downplaying the deal’s significance.

“The ethics rules allow a federal employee to receive a gift from a personal friend.”

Geithner served in his post for more than three more years after he moved out of the house, despite the conflict of interest he then had in any dealings between the Treasury department and JPMorgan.

Current Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt has been accused of taking a similar deal from the spouse of a top energy lobbyist.

Pruitt’s agreement, however, was to pay $50 a night to sleep in a bedroom in a condo the couple owned.

The administrator has taken heavy criticism since news of the deal broke and for other expenditures on travel and security.

Calls for Pruitt’s ouster have continued for weeks.

President Donald Trump stood by Pruitt so far but may cut his EPA secretary loose despite Pruitt’s successful policy of deregulation at the agency.

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White House staffers have been warning Republicans recently to not defend Pruitt loudly or vigorously, according to reports.

A version of this article previously appeared on The Daily Caller News Foundation website.

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