Former Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner Is Finally Getting Paid By Big Banks

Matt Berman

During his tenure as Treasury secretary, Timothy Geithner was constantly dogged by the belief that he was spawned from Wall Street. This thinking was false: If you need a refresher, Geithner had actually spent most of his career in government, and none of it at a bank. When he left office this year, Geithner said that it would be "extremely unlikely" for that to change.

But as it turns out, Geithner is now being paid hundreds of thousands of dollars by massive financial organizations. It's just that he isn't being paid to work on Wall Street; he's just being paid to talk every now and then.

The Financial Timesreports that Geithner, like countless former public servants before him, has hit the highly lucrative speaking circuit. He's already made about $400,000 in just three engagements. And that tab is being footed by financial institutions such as Deutsche Bank and Blackstone, which paid him about $200,000 and up to $100,000, respectively. 

These hauls, while jaw-dropping, are not unusual. As the FT writes, Geithner was even physically joined by former French President Nicolas Sarkozy and former Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti at a Deutsche Bank conference. In the six years after he left the White House, Bill Clinton made nearly $40 million in speaking fees. Even Supreme Court justices are allowed to take in about $25,000 worth of additional income annually, largely through speaking.

But don't get too jealous. The schedule for speakers can be a bit grueling, with Bill Clinton averaging about a speech a day in 2006. Although, he did of course also take in between $9 million and $10 million that year.