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Geithner to regulators: ‘Stop your (expletive) turf wars’

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Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner launched an ‘expletive-laced’ tirade against top U.S. financial regulators in a meeting on Friday, demanding that they halt their turf battles over the administration’s proposed regulatory overhaul, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Frustration apparently has been building in the White House as individual regulators have publicly voiced objections to parts of the plan, including giving the Federal Reserve more oversight of the financial system and creating a new Consumer Financial Protection Agency to police lending products.

The regulators’ pushback could pose a threat to any overhaul by giving House and Senate leaders ammunition to challenge the plan.

From the Journal’s website:

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Mr. Geithner told the regulators Friday that ‘enough is enough,’ said one person familiar with the meeting. Mr. Geithner said regulators had been given a chance to air their concerns, but that it was time to stop, this person said. Among those gathered in the Treasury conference room were Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Mary Schapiro and Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. Chairman Sheila Bair. Other attendees were: Fed Governor Daniel Tarullo, Comptroller of the Currency John Dugan, Commodity Futures Trading Commission Chairman Gary Gensler and Office of Thrift Supervision Acting Director John Bowman. Friday’s roughly hourlong meeting was described as unusual, not only because of Mr. Geithner’s repeated use of obscenities, but because of the aggressive posture he took with officials from federal agencies generally considered independent of the White House. Mr. Geithner reminded attendees that the administration and Congress set policy, not the regulatory agencies.

Neal Wolin, Treasury’s deputy secretary, told the Journal that Geithner wanted to make sure that turf battles didn’t get in the way of fixing a system that badly needed an overhaul.

Wolin wouldn’t comment on Geithner’s tone or language, the Journal said.

-- Tom Petruno


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