Via Politico Playbook comes the Bloomberg article reporting that on November 16 President Obama dropped by a White House meeting with Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and "Blackstone Group LP President Tony James; Evercore Partners Inc. chairman Roger Altman; Robert Wolf, chief executive officer of 32 Advisors LLC; Centerbridge Capital Partners LLC managing principal Mark Gallogly; Glenn Hutchins, co-founder of Silver Lake Management LLC; Marc Lasry, founder of Avenue Capital Group LLC; Blair Effron, co-founder of Centerview Partners LLC; and Orin Kramer, general partner at Boston Provident Partners LP."
The meeting wasn't open to the press or the public and it wasn't on Mr. Obama's publicly announced schedule. The Bloomberg article says "many of the participants at the Nov. 16 meeting have been among Obama's staunchest supporters on Wall Street and top campaign donors."
I'm all for President Obama keeping in touch with the private sector, and certainly it doesn't make sense that anyone who donated to his campaign should be barred from coming to meetings at the White House. Back in the George W. Bush administration, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson had his own meetings with a select group of money managers.
Maybe Mr. Obama wanted their help. But you have to wonder what, if anything, these guys are getting in return. Information or relationships they can use to their business advantage? Maybe it's just the feeling that they are helping their country and their president. Where do you sign up for a White House meeting with Mr. Geithner and President Obama if you are in the financial industry, or some other industry, for that matter, and weren't one of Mr. Obama's "top campaign donors"?