Jack Lew: Obama’s OMB Pick Oversaw Citigroup Unit That Shorted Housing Market
President Barack Obama’s choice to lead the White House budget office oversaw a Citigroup unit that profited off the housing collapse and financial crisis by investing in a hedge fund king who correctly predicted the eventual subprime meltdown and now finds himself involved in the center of the U.S. government’s fraud case against Goldman Sachs.
Jacob Lew, named Tuesday as Obama’s nominee to lead the Office of Management and Budget to replace departing OMB chief Peter Orszag, served as chief operating officer of Citigroup Alternative Investments in 2008. He has served as a top aide to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton since the administration came into office.
Though Lew is a longtime public servant who’s spent nearly 30 years in various positions throughout government, it is his few years at Citi — in particular the one year he spent at its then-$54 billion proprietary trading, hedge fund and private equity unit — that’s likely to raise the most eyebrows in the coming weeks as Lew faces a Senate confirmation hearing.
Especially his unit’s investments in a hedge fund that bet on the housing market to collapse — a reality suffered by millions of American homeowners.