The one thing we do not need is the one thing we are most likely to get: Less Stringent Ethics.

I touched on that subject in Not Practical To Tell The Truth, but what the hell, why not just come right out and promote it?

It now seems we are. Inquiring minds may wish to consider Treasury adviser likely to get special status.

Ken Wilson, the Goldman Sachs banker who is joining the US Treasury to help the country through the financial crisis, is expected to take a temporary post that will subject him to less stringent ethics rules than many other high-level officials.

Mr Wilson was likely to be treated as a “special government employee”, making it unlikely he would have to sell assets or produce the detailed disclosure reports required of officials appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate, legal experts said.

Mr Wilson revealed his decision to leave Goldman and join the Treasury as a consultant and “trouble shooter” for Mr Paulson in an interview with the Wall Street Journal published on July 22. The Treasury has declined to comment on Mr Wilson’s appointment or the scope and length of his assignment.

According to the report, Mr Wilson received a personal telephone call from Mr Bush, who, calling him by the name he used when both attended Harvard Business School together, said: “Kenny, your country needs you.”

The decision by the White to call on Mr Wilson reflects the pragmatic approach of Mr Paulson, whom Democratic lawmakers have credited with persuading Mr Bush to support a fiscal stimulus package and housing legislation that has been unpopular among some Republicans.

Mr Wilson has made political contributions of $23,900 (€15,300, £12,000) in this election cycle, mostly to Democrats such as Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. He made one donation to a Republican – $2,300 to John McCain in 2007. He had given $3,000 to Mr Bush and large donations to the Republican National Committee.

Pragmatism Defined

Pragmatism: The act of donating money to both political parties in hopes of securing a lucrative contract no matter who wins.

Mike “Mish” Shedlock
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