WASHINGTON -- Ricki R. Tigert's formal swearing in as chairman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. on Tuesday is the culmination of a focused, fervent lobbying effort.
The push to end Ms. Tigert's nearly yearlong limbo was driven in part by a need to restore some teeth to the FDIC, which had become a paper tiger among the federal banking agencies after languishing two years without a permanent chair.
Banking industry groups, particularly the Independent Bankers Association of America, contacted Republican Senators in an effort to convince them that the FDIC needed someone at its helm, and that Ms. Tigert's friendship with President and Hillary Clinton would not affect her ability to head the agency.
Senate Republicans had delayed a vote on her nomination because they insisted that Ms. Tigert was too close to the Clintons to objectively handle the FDIC's investigation of Whitewater Development Co. and the failed Madison Guaranty Savings and Loan.
The President and his wife have been accused of improper involvement in the land development company and the failed thrift.
The groups had nothing to Dose and something to gain by championing the drive to confirm Ms. Tigert.
"We were looking at possibly another seven or eight months without leadership and with some key banking issues coming up," said Kenneth A. Guenther, the trade group's executive vice president.
"The FDIC just wasn't in the decision-making orbit. [Comptroller] Eugene Ludwig and Treasury were running FDIC, and that's not what Congress intended. The decision was made here: enough already."
Mr. Guenther decided it was time to crank up his efforts when Congress' summer break rolled around and many Republicans still had not relented.
"Guenther, bless his heart, is one of those people who decides that if something is the right thing to do, and if it's favorable to his organization, he really spends time on getting things done," said Peter Wallison, a partner at 6ibson, Dunn and Crutcher, the Washington law firm where Ms. Tigert worked prior to her confirmation. "That is very commendable."
Ms. Tigert's former co-workers played a key role in her confirmation as well. Some simply supplied the moral support she needed to endure the lengthy confirmation process, during which she couldn't represent any insured depository institutions for her firm -- the work she was hired to do.
In particular, one of Ms. Tigert's colleagues expended a lot of energy to ensure that her long wait was not in vain.
Bob McConnell, a partner at the firm, acted as a self-described "general behind-the-scenes" for Ms. Tigert.
He said he "made a nuisance" of himself at the White House, making sure that the nomination stayed high on the administration's agenda.
Mr. McConnell, who served as an assistant attorney general in the Reagan administration, also contacted every Republican in the Senate, except for the most strident of Tigert opponents: the Senate Banking Committee ranking Republican Alfonse D'Amato, R-N.Y., and Sen. Lauch Faircloth, R-N.C.
"It was a political struggle," Mr. McConnell said. "I took Ricki in to meet undecided members, who ended up liking her. And as it got very close, we were trying to do a nose count. We ended up with a cadre of members that were behind her."
Crucial progress came in September, when Sen. Robert Bennett, R-Utah, endorsed Ms. Tigert, saying she shouldn't be disqualified "just because she knows the President."