UNDERNEWS

Undernews is the online report of the Progressive Review, edited by Sam Smith, who has covered Washington during all or part of one quarter of America's presidencies and edited alternative journals since 1964. The Review has been on the web since 1995. See main page for full contents

February 4, 2009

PANETTA; ANOTHER CLOUDY OBAMA APPOINTMENT

Politico - Leon Panetta, whose nomination to be CIA director will go before the Senate Intelligence Committee, last year earned $250,000 on the speaking circuit and another $790,000 in fees from consulting fees and board directorships. . .

Economic meltdown victims Merrill Lynch paid him $56,000 for a pair of talks - one of which came after Bank of America had moved to buy the struggling financial services firm. Wachovia also paid for Panetta talks, as did the defense firm Carlyle Group.

The Pacific Maritime Association paid him $60,000 as "governmental adviser," which an Obama aide said was for advice on port security issues, not for lobbying.

Panetta, who reported assets worth between $1.5 million and $3.7 million, served on a hodgepodge of high-powered corporate boards last year, including international energy giant BP Corporation (which paid him $125,000 last year) and public relations behemoth Fleishman Hilliard ($120,000).

He also sat on the boards of two insurance companies: Blue Shield of California, which paid him $93,000 and Zenith National Insurance, which paid $170,000 and in which he owns as much as $350,000 in stock. And he pulled down $11,500 for being a director of Corinthian Colleges, a chain of colleges accused of misleading students.

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