Obama Finds 3 To Fill Treasury Positions

Each nominee is already serving as a counselor to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, but they must now be confirmed

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WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama has chosen three people to join the senior ranks of the Treasury Department, where a slow pace of hiring has put the agency on the defensive.

The White House on Sunday said Obama is nominating David S. Cohen to be assistant secretary in dealing with terrorist financing; Alan B. Krueger for assistant secretary for economic policy; and Kim N. Wallace as assistant secretary for legislative affairs.

Each nominee is already serving as a counselor to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner. All three are now subject to Senate confirmation.

As the government tries to help the nation climb out of recession and deep, crippling troubles in its banking sector, the Treasury Department is playing a vital management role.

Yet Geithner has been criticized for getting his department up to full staff too slowly, with few people authorized to make decisions or represent the agency in outside meetings.

Geithner says Treasury is moving carefully to get the best people in place. The agency says there are no delays or concerns over the vetting process.

"With the leadership of these accomplished individuals and our whole economic team, I am absolutely confident that we will turn around this economy and seize this opportunity to secure a more prosperous future," Obama said in a statement.

Cohen until recently served as a partner at the law firm of Wilmerhale, and he worked as a Treasury Department lawyer immediately before joining the firm in 2001.

Krueger is a longtime professor of economics and public affairs at Princeton University who has garnered numerous honors for his work as a labor economist.

Wallace was a managing director and head of the Washington Research Group at Barclays Capital before becoming a counselor to Geithner. Wallace worked for 14 years at Lehman Brothers Inc. and served as a legislative aide to former Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell.

Two other people considered likely for key posts at Treasury withdrew from consideration in the last week.

Annette Nazareth, the potential chief deputy to Geithner and a former senior staffer and commissioner with the Securities and Exchange Commission, made "a personal decision" to withdraw from the process, according to a person familiar with her decision.

Geithner's choice for undersecretary of international affairs, Caroline Atkinson, also withdrew from consideration, The Wall Street Journal reported last week.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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