- The Washington Times - Friday, March 13, 2009

WASHINGTON - A prominent New York attorney has withdrawn from consideration for the No. 2 job at the Treasury Department, the second person to drop out of the running for the post, a Democratic source said Thursday.

The Democratic source, who spoke on condition of anonymity because it involved personnel matters, said that H. Rodgin Cohen had asked to have his name removed from consideration for the job of deputy Treasury secretary.

The Obama administration has had trouble filling posts at the Treasury Department, leaving Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner as the only official whose nomination has cleared the Senate confirmation process as the administration grapples with the worst economic crisis in seven decades.

Cohen, a partner with the New York law firm of Sullivan & Cromwell LLP, had been considered a leading candidate for the post as Geithner’s deputy. The withdrawal was first reported by ABC News, which quoted sources as saying Cohen decided to take his name out of the running after an issue arose in the vetting process.

Cohen did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Last week, sources said that Annette Nazareth, a former commissioner at the Securities and Exchange Commission, had withdrawn from consideration for the same job.

Responding to criticism about the slowness of the nomination process, the administration on Sunday announced the names of three officials being nominated for top Treasury jobs 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 working as a counselor to Geithner.

Treasury officials have said that the criticism about the staffing process was unfounded, contending that the pace of the nominations has not been slower than in previous administrations.

They have argued that the agency has been aggressive in dealing with the financial crisis, the auto industry bailout and measures to combat a wave of home mortgage foreclosures.

Some on Capitol Hill had expressed concern that Nazareth, who had also worked on the SEC staff before becoming a commissioner, had been too closely associated with the weak federal oversight that contributed to the banking collapse. Among her responsibilities at Treasury would have been overseeing the creation of a new regulatory system for large financial institutions.

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