The Campaign Trail
President Bush is doing his part to help Senate Banking Committee Republicans raise money for their reelection bids next year.
Last week the President took a break from his monthlong summer holiday in Texas to travel to Colorado and raise a combined $1.4 million of hard and soft money at a dinner for Gov. Bill Owens and Sen. Wayne Allard, the ranking Republican on Senate Banking's housing subcommittee.
President Bush said of Sen. Allard: "He's a good man, he works hard, and I need him in the Senate. I need somebody who I can count on in the United States Senate."
Next month Dubya is scheduled to help a fellow Texas Republican, Sen. Phil Gramm, kick off his fundraising season with a "multimillion-dollar, mega fundraiser" in Dallas, a Gramm spokesman said. That news deflates persistent rumors that Sen. Gramm might give up his seat to become the head of Texas A&M University or a Federal Reserve Board governor.
Slow Start at SEC?
In a June 26 letter to the Securities and Exchange Commission's ethics office, the agency's recently confirmed chairman, Harvey L. Pitt, promised that to eliminate potential conflicts of interest, for one year he would recuse himself from any decision that may affect clients of his former law practice.
Mr. Pitt, who until his confirmation was a high-powered industry lawyer with the firm of Fried, Frank, Shriver, Harris & Jacobson, has represented such clients as Merrill Lynch & Co., the New York Stock Exchange, and the Securities Industry Association.
Which raises the obvious question: If he can't participate in decisions involving the country's largest securities firm, its largest stock exchange, and the industry's largest trade group, what will Mr. Pitt do for the next 12 months?
Ingenious: getting Community Reinvestment Act credit for having teenagers do research on - what else? - CRA-related activities.
That's exactly what seven banking companies, including Bank of America Corp., First Union Corp., and SunTrust Banks Inc., did by sponsoring the summer youth initiative of the H Street Community Development Corp. in Washington.
The banking companies paid about a dozen 14-year-olds to visit local banks, research their CRA records, and present their findings at the end of the six-week program.
And to help the kids feel like real bankers, each participant received a set of golf clubs and free golf lessons.
Tax Counsel Director
Mark Baran, who tracks tax issues for the American Bankers Association, has been promoted to director of the group's center for community bank tax and senior tax counsel.