Citigroup hires Washington `insider` Richard F Hohlt: Report
  • This Section
  • Latest
  • Web Wrap
Last Updated: Sunday, October 11, 2009, 21:29
  
New York: Citigroup has hired the services of Richard F Hohlt, a long time Washington "insider" with a history of aggressive advocacy for the banking industry, says a media report.

The New York Times, citing sources, said that Richard D Parsons, Citigroup's chairman, enlisted the services last spring of Richard F Hohlt.

Citigroup, however, is likely to come under flak because of the said appointment of Hohlt, who as a top lobbyist for the savings and loan industry in the 1980s, blocked regulation of these institutions and played a pivotal role helping to prolong dubious industry practices.

Five former regulators, who encountered Hohlt during the savings and loan fiasco, expressed dismay and surprise that he had been hired by a bank that has received tens of billions of dollars of taxpayer assistance, and voiced concerns about what exactly he had been hired to do, the New York Times said.

Quoting former regulator William K Black, the report said, "It is singularly obscene that any recipient of taxpayer assistance through the TARP programme during the current financial crisis would hire one of the most infamous lobbyists in the world to represent them."

Parsons, in an interview, said he hired Hohlt simply as a political adviser who provides information and counsel, and does not focus on particular legislation. "I hired him to keep me in touch with what's going on in Washington and what the mood and tenor of the town is."

Hohlt's role is to solve problems and help communicate more effectively, but not to lobby on Citigroup's behalf, Parsons said, adding :"I don't bring him to meetings. He is a useful source of information".

Defending his appointment, Hohlt in an interview has said that Citigroup has retained him as an adviser to provide strategic counsel on Washington matters related to the bank, and not as a lobbyist.

Regarding his reputation he said that his work with the league was "prehistoric" and that in the years since then he has built a reputation as an honest and experienced resource.

Quoting sources, the report further said Hohlt was also hired to advise Parsons on ways to blunt the demands of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, one of the bank's primary regulators.

Hohlt was the longtime lobbyist for Washington Mutual, which collapsed in 2008, becoming the biggest bank failure in history. Hohlt has also represented the mortgage finance giant Fannie Mae, which was taken over by the government in September 2008 because of billions in mortgage losses.

Bureau Report


First Published: Sunday, October 11, 2009, 21:29


comments powered by Disqus