Last year the White House’s former budget director Peter Orszag had a court seal his financial records. He took this step in advance of an upcoming child-support case about the two children he fathered with his ex-wife Cameron Kennedy. Even though documents used in civil cases are usually public, Orszag is doing everything he can to keep his financial records secret. Now the National Journal reports that almost 10 big media outlets including the New York Times are trying to get the records unsealed. Orszag claims he is so vested in keeping his records secret because he’s worried disclosures could hurt his reputation and his career, and the media smells foul:
Orszag might be a model example of the D.C. revolving door. After a stint as an economic adviser in the Clinton administration, he formed a consulting firm and worked for the Brookings Institution. After his two-year run in the Obama administration, he joined Citigroup, where he serves the bank as vice chairman of Corporate and Investment Banking, chairman of the Public Sector Group, and chairman of the Financial Strategy and Solutions Group […]As the director of the Office of Management and Budget, Orszag was an early Obama administration wonder boy, becoming a sort of geek-chic sex symbol in Washington circles. But he was heavily criticized when he jumped to Citi—widely viewed as a culprit in the financial industry downturn. He also had a falling out with the White House shortly after his departure when he publicly opposed the president’s plan to raise taxes on the wealthy
The news agencies are rightly arguing that the public has a legitimate interest in finding how revolving door types like this make their money. Orszag is no doubt a very talented man, but let’s hope that in the future the American government finds a way to dispense with his services.