Obama Considering Chamber of Commerce Insider for Top White House Post
By Kevin Connor  •  Jan 04, 2011 at 12:54 EST

The US Chamber of Commerce has done battle with the Obama administration over the course of the past two years on some significant issues, and has been described by one observer as “one of the most determined and well-funded foes of Obama’s agenda.” So the news that Obama may be tapping a Chamber insider as his chief of staff should come as a surprise to those following the food fights between the two power blocs.

Bill Daley.

Bill Daley.

Bloomberg is reporting that Obama is considering naming Bill Daley, a JPMorgan executive and former U.S. Commerce secretary, to a top White House post, possibly chief of staff.  Daley’s ties to the Chamber of Commerce haven’t been reported and aren’t immediately obvious, but they are significant.

From 2005 to 2007, he co-chaired a Chamber of Commerce committee on financial (de)regulation. The “Commission on the Regulation of Capital Markets in the 21st Century” eventually became the Chamber’s Center for Capital Markets Competitiveness, which played a prominent role in attacking derivatives regulation and consumer protections last year. The Hill called the group one of the “loudest voices on financial legislation” — and they weren’t exactly singing the praises of reform efforts.

Daley also signed on to a March 2009 Chamber manifesto on “Restoring Confidence in US Capital Markets,” the Chamber’s opening PR move in the financial reform debate. The declaration, released two months after Daley co-chaired Obama’s inauguration, appears to have been taken down from the Chamber’s site, but is available here via the google monster. Most signatories were Republican, judging from campaign finance info on LittleSis.  Daley’s signature is found at the end:

Screen shot 2011-01-04 at 11.09.09 AM

I wouldn’t have caught most of these ties if I hadn’t written about them in late 2009, with help from  LittleSis analysts.

JPMorgan also has a strong link to the Chamber through vice chair Jimmy Lee, who currently sits on the Chamber’s board. The company’s former head of litigation, Mark Segall, also held a seat on the board of the Chamber’s Institute for Legal Reform according to its last 990.

And in 2009, Chamber toadie Melissa Bean addressed JPMorgan executives, including Daley, but wasn’t anti-consumer enough for him, according to the Chicago Tribune:

“She laid out how she saw the president’s proposal, and the difficulties politically in Congress, and Jamie and other members expressed their opinion of what they would like to see,” said Bill Daley, JPMorgan’s Midwest chairman, who attended the board meeting. “It was clear in June that she did not have a knee-jerk aversion to the concept of a federal consumer protection agency, in spite of all our brilliant arguments.”

Besides being a top corporate insider (he also sits on the boards of two Chicago-based Fortune 100 companies: Abbott Laboratories and Boeing), Daley is also an Obama insider: a major donor, co-chair of the inauguration, an adviser to the transition, a Chicago rainmaker, a mentor to Rahm Emanuel, and close friends with David Axelrod.

Indeed, a Daley appointment won’t so much mark a shift towards embracing the “business community” as it would further confirm the fact that the two camps were never far apart, or divided in any way.  This is the White House of corporate tools like Rahm Emanuel and Larry Summers.  On another level, it is the White House of Wall Street “wise men” Robert Rubin and Peter Peterson, of Brookings, Harvard, and Goldman Sachs.

The only jobs program Obama has embraced with any urgency is the one that puts elite corporate hacks like Daley to work in his administration.  It looks like he plans to stay the course.

24 Responses to “Obama Considering Chamber of Commerce Insider for Top White House Post”

  1. William Daley in running for chief of staff job | mauramu01 Says:

    [...] did I mention that he’s also a U.S. Chamber of Commerce insider? From 2005 to 2007, he co-chaired a Chamber of Commerce committee on financial (de)regulation. [...]

  2. William Daley to Replace Rahm Emanuel in White House? Says:

    [...] Update: more on William Daley via DailyKos. Daley is the brother of Chicago mayor Richard Daley, a former commerce secretary, Rahm Emanuel’s mentor, and an investment banker [...] he’s also a U.S. Chamber of Commerce insider.    [...]

  3. William Daley in running for chief of staff job - Online Political Blog Says:

    [...] did I mention that he’s also a U.S. Chamber of Commerce insider? From 2005 to 2007, he co-chaired a Chamber of Commerce committee on financial (de)regulation. [...]

  4. Obama’s New Chief of Staff a Top Banker With Strong Chamber Ties « wright hough Says:

    [...] addition to those things, Daley hasstrong ties to the Chamber of Commerce, whichopposedthe financial reform bill that was a cornerstone of the administration’s agenda last [...]

  5. In picking Daley, Obama edges out of his comfort zone (The Ticket) Says:

    [...] from one high-profile Obama foe during the 2010 campaign: the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which previously worked with Daley on financial deregulation efforts. Tom Donohue, the chamber’s president, called [...]

  6. Daley A Continuation of Obama’s Triangulation Strategy | College Republican National Committee – Speak Out Says:

    [...] as President Obama comes off a year of attempting to pit Main Street against Wall Street. He’s a close friend of the Chamber of Commerce, in a year they spent tons of money bankrolling Republican challengers [...]

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  10. Why do people keep fainting around Bill Clinton? Says:

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  11. Why do people keep fainting around Bill Clinton? Says:

    [...] old video is making the rounds today of Bill Daley, the former Clinton commerce secretary who may become President Obama’s chief of staff, [...]

  12. Why do people keep fainting around Bill Clinton? - Salon.com Says:

    [...] old video is making the rounds today of Bill Daley, the former Clinton commerce secretary who may become President Obama’s chief of staff, [...]

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    [...] it with this guy and food?  At any rate, he soon gave them a far better present, hiring former Chamber insider Bill Daley as his chief of [...]

  15. Bill McKibben: Obama’s Failing Emails: Where Did the President’s Mojo Go? | Politimo Says:

    [...] it with this guy and food?  At any rate, he soon gave them a far better present, hiring former Chamber insider Bill Daley as his chief of [...]

  16. Bill McKibben: Obama and the corruption of big oil — War in Context Says:

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  17. Obama’s Failing Emails: Where Did the President’s Mojo Go? « LobeLog.com Says:

    [...] is it with this guy and food?  At any rate, he soon gave them a far better present, hiring former Chamber insider Bill Daley as his chief of [...]

  18. Where did Obama’s mojo go? | Grist Says:

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  19. Where did Obama’s mojo go? | Greediocracy Says:

    [...] is it with this guy and food? At any rate, he soon gave them a far better present, hiring former Chamber insider Bill Daley as his chief of [...]

  20. I’m just about done with Obama | Bluegrass reVISIONS Says:

    [...] is it with this guy and food?  At any rate, he soon gave them a far better present, hiring former Chamber insider Bill Daley as his chief of [...]

  21. Obama’s Failing Emails Says:

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