|Daley served as Commerce secretary during President Bill Clinton's second term. After chairing Al Gore's 2000 presidential campaign, Daley went to work for SBC Communications, where he lobbied regulators and politicians for policies favorable to the telecommunications firm. Daley then became Midwest chairman for the JPMorgan bank.
While at JPMorgan, Daley has worked on some of the Midwest's biggest takeovers. He advised Chicago's Exelon Corp. on its unsuccessful 2004 proposal to buy Public Service Enterprise Group Inc. for $17.8 billion, and CBOT Holdings Inc., also based in Chicago, on its 2007 sale to CME Group Inc. for $11 billion, according to Corporate Control Alert, an industry newsletter.
Besides his work as a banker, he serves on several corporate boards, including Boeing Co. and Abbott Laboratories. Daley was named by Clinton to the board of Washington-based Fannie Mae in October 1993 and was reappointed in 1995.
Daley "was one of the first prominent Democrats to urge Obama to move toward the political center" in 2009 and is a trustee of the corporate-friendly think tank Third Way. As Julianna Goldman and John McCormick report for Bloomberg,
"Daley is highly respected by the business community and has great connections," Douglas J. Elliott, a fellow at the Washington-based Brookings Institution and a former JPMorgan Chase managing director, said in an e-mail. Naming Daley to a top post, he said, "could help mend fences" with executives who have complained that the Democratic administration is anti- business. [...]
The administration is seeking to repair relations with the business community after coming under fire from industry groups, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The nation's biggest business lobbying group opposed Obama's health-care and financial-regulatory overhauls and committed $75 million to political ads in the midterm congressional elections, mainly directed against Democrats.
Still, Obama is generating more optimism among corporate executives after a series of actions and overtures, including a deal to extend the Bush-era tax cuts, efforts to boost exports such as a U.S.-South Korea free-trade agreement, and a loosening of controls on some technology sales.
Obama met Dec. 15 with 20 company executives in Washington and said afterward he made "good progress" toward establishing closer cooperation between government and business to accelerate the economic recovery. The president has said private companies are crucial to the U.S. climbing out of the worst recession since the Great Depression.
By all means, Mr. President, focus on "repairing relations" with the business community when unemployment is stuck near 10 percent. Your administration has done little for homeowners facing foreclosure (even blocking foreclosure prevention money from being spent on legal aid for homeowners). But Obama gives a top job to a high-ranking JPMorgan executive who opposed creating a new consumer financial protection agency and "worked for the Chamber of Commerce at eliminating post-Enron accounting regulations." Hey, at least Daley's not from Goldman Sachs like Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and so many other Obama administration officials. Feel the balance!
Obama is in effect validating the claims of corporate hacks who said his financial and health insurance reform went "too far." Good luck convincing ordinary voters in 2012 that you stood up for the little guy.
Speaking of the next presidential campaign, Obama told reporters on January 4,
"My hope is that John Boehner and Mitch McConnell will realize that there will be plenty of time to campaign for 2012 in 2012. And that our job this year is to make sure that we build on recovery," Obama said.
The very next day, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs stepped down "to become an outside political adviser to the president and his re-election campaign."
UPDATE: Other worrying signs from the Obama administration: Last month the Environmental Protection Agency delayed implementing new rules on air pollution from smog and industrial boiler emissions. The smog rules had already been delayed twice before and were supposed to be released by the end of 2010 under a court order. The National Association of Manufacturers and the American Petroleum Institute were pleased with the EPA decision, but the adverse impact on public health will cost far more than stronger pollution regulations would have.