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In DC, "Inevitable" Fraud as Obama Jokes with JPM Chase, Meets Citi and ExxonMobil

Byline: Matthew Russell Lee of Inner City Press at the UN: News Analysis

WASHINGTON, March 12 -- As President Barack Obama promises to find and "call out" misuses of the stimulus package, and to review the over 7,000 earmarks in the budget bill he signed this week, the chairman of his Recovery Act's Transparency and Accountability Board, Earl Devaney, told the Press of a "naive impression that given the amount of transparency and accountability called for by this Act, no or little fraud will occur... some level of waste and fraud is unfortunately inevitable."

   Accordingly, the same is true not only at the United Nations -- despite Obama not mentioning the need for UN reform in his comments Tuesday after meeting Secretary General Ban Ki-moon -- but also with the bank bailout funds of the Troubled Assets Relief Program. Nevertheless, Obama joked with JPMorgan Chase's Jaime Dimon at the Business Roundtable's gabfest Thursday in Washington. As a smaller banker asked the final question of Obama -- no questions were taken after his meeting with the UN's Ban -- Obama said that banking has of late become complex, and that he could ask "Jaime" about it.

  Also on the White House's list of Roundtable attendees was Citigroup's longtime board member and now chairman Richard Parsons. Citigroup veered into predatory lending, JPM Chase at a minimum securitized it, while lending to payday lenders and pawnshops. What then is so funny?

  Obama's successor as Senator from Illinois Roland Burris is said to have a brother who is going through foreclosure. A well-known Representative from the state of Illinois, sponsoring a pro-industry payday lending bill, has taken over $10,000 from the lender QC Holdings. If this is how politics will be in the current Washington, predatory lending can be expected to continue.

Barack Obama, UN's Ban, Lincoln, predatory lending not shown

  Below is the White House list of Business Roundtable attendees. While Inner City Press went to question the International Monetary Fund, the following colorful pool report issued next to the White House:

From: sdinan [at]
To: bfinkenbinder [at], AnnMarie_Tomasini [at]
Sent: Thu, 12 Mar 2009 10:19:03 -0400
Subject: Pool No. 1 from ARRA conference

Per the White House and an audience member, the audience was a chief coordinating officer, chief of staff or top budget official from each state. Biden said 49 of 50 states sent someone, though he didn't say which state didn't. The room was EEOB 450, the auditorium-style room with the blue theater seats and blue curtains.

At 9:25 Sean McGrath, Deputy Director for the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs, gave a schedule of affairs that included a warning to the group. Apparently some had been told there would be no press, and he told them in fact press was here.

"The press corps is here. It will be a smaller group in the back, and so all of your comments will be on the record."

Energy Secretary Chu and the vice president walked out at 9:43, both in dark suits. Biden had a green tie, Chu had a light blue necktie.

Chu said from the energy standpoint, "we will have a wonderful chance to show the green economy works."

He also said homeowners will be able to evaluate how well the work is going when they open up their energy bill: "Our success or failure will be on the page in black and white"

Chu introduced the VP at 9:46, repeating Obama's claim from the address to Congress that "nobody messes with Joe." Chu called him "both the watchdog and the bulldog."

Transcript will come, and please check these quotes against it, but here are the highlights from Biden, who spoke from notes, not a teleprompter. He spoke for 14 minutes.

He said he and the president will announce regulations to control what types of spending aren't allowed.

"We have asked a lot of the American people, a great deal of the American people in supporting this effort and so this is a different deal. This is not your usual federal grant going to the state."

"Just because it may be legal, it is not acceptable, some of it."

  Sort of like predatory lending... Here is the White House list of Roundtable attendees:

From: "White House Press Office"
Subject: List of CEOs Expected to Attend Business Roundtable meeting with the President

Date: Thu, 12 Mar 2009 15:49:00 -0400

Below is a list of CEOs expected to attend the Business Roundtable meeting with the President.

Stephen F. Angel, Praxair, Inc.
Alan L. Boeckmann, Fluor Corporation
Gregory H. Boyce, Peabody Energy Corporation
Gregory Q. Brown, Motorola, Inc.
Gary C. Butler, Automatic Data Processing, Inc.
Kenneth I. Chenault, American Express Company
James Cracchiolo, Ameriprise Financial
Alexander M. Cutler, Eaton Corporation
Michael T. Dan, The Brink's Company
Daniel R. DiMicco, Nucor Corporation
James Dimon, JPMorgan Chase & Co.
John V. Faraci Jr., International Paper Company
G. Steven Farris, Apache Corporation
Eric C. Fast, Crane Co.
J. Brian Ferguson, Eastman Chemical Company
Daniel S. Fulton, Weyerhaeuser Company
James Goodnight, SAS Institute Inc.
William D. Green, Accenture
Evan G. Greenberg, ACE Limited
H. Edward Hanway, CIGNA Corporation
Lewis Hay III, FPL Group, Inc.
Edmund F. Kelly, Liberty Mutual Group
Jeffrey B. Kindler, Pfizer Inc
Ellen J. Kullman, DuPont
A.G. Lafley, The Procter & Gamble Company
John C. Lechleiter, Eli Lilly and Company
Steven F. Leer, Arch Coal, Inc.
Steven R. Loranger, ITT Corporation
Kathryn V. Marinello, Ceridian Corporation
Theodore A. Mathas, New York Life Insurance Co.
Michael B. McCallister, Humana Inc.
Charles G. McClure, ArvinMeritor, Inc.
William L. McComb, Liz Claiborne, Inc.
Bill McDermott, SAP
Harold McGraw III, The McGraw-Hill Companies
Charles W. Moorman, Norfolk Southern Corporation
Anne M. Mulcahy, Xerox Corporation
Ronald L. Nelson, Avis Budget Group, Inc.
Thomas C. Nelson, National Gypsum Company
George Nolen, Siemens Corporation
Marvin E. Odum, Shell Oil Company
Dinesh C. Paliwal, Harman International Industries, Inc.
Samuel J. Palmisano, IBM Corporation
Richard Parsons, Citi
Antonio M. Perez, Eastman Kodak Company
Bernard Poussot, Wyeth
Kendall J. Powell, General Mills, Inc.
James H. Quigley, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu
David M. Ratcliffe, Southern Company
Matthew K. Rose, BNSF Railway Company
Wilbur L. Ross, WL Ross & Co. LLC
Edward B. Rust Jr., State Farm Insurance Companies
Dean A. Scarborough, Avery Dennison Corporation
Ivan G. Seidenberg, Verizon Communications
David B. Snow Jr., Medco Health Solutions, Inc.
Theodore M. Solso, Cummins Inc.
Lee J. Styslinger III, Altec, Inc.
Michael H. Thaman, Owens Corning
Kent J. Thiry, DaVita Inc..
Rex W. Tillerson, Exxon Mobil Corporation
James S. Turley, Ernst & Young, L.L.P.
Daniel C. Ustian, Navistar International Corporation
G. Richard Wagoner Jr., General Motors Corporation
Michael J. Ward, CSX Corporation
Ronald A. Williams, Aetna Inc

  Evan Greenberg of ACE, of course, is the son of Hank Greenberg of AIG and bailout fame. Siemens is embroiled in a bribery scandal. ExxonMobil is among those which have successfully lobbied the Obama Administration to soften on Myanmar, to let them go for gas and oil there, click here for that story. And so it goes in Washington.

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  • Click here for Inner City Press' Feb 26 UN debate

    Click here for Feb. 12 debate on Sri Lanka

    Click here for Inner City Press' Jan. 16, 2009 debate about Gaza

    Click here for Inner City Press' review-of-2008 UN Top Ten debate

    Click here for Inner City Press' December 24 debate on UN budget, Niger

    Click here from Inner City Press' December 12 debate on UN double standards

    Click here for Inner City Press' November 25 debate on Somalia, politics

    Click here for Inner City Press Nov. 7 debate on the war in Congo

    Watch this site, and this Oct. 2 debate, on UN, bailout, MDGs

    and this October 17 debate, on Security Council and Obama and the UN.

    * * *

    These reports are usually also available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis.

    Click here for a Reuters AlertNet piece by this correspondent about Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army. Click here for an earlier Reuters AlertNet piece about the Somali National Reconciliation Congress, and the UN's $200,000 contribution from an undefined trust fund.  Video Analysis here

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