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If Geithner Goes, The Top Two Contenders

Tim Geithner will soon find himself on the hot seat again, as he’s summoned to Congress. Considering the mood in DC, could his job be on the line?

The latest storm of controversy stems from Geithner’s role involving AIG payments to banks when he headed the New York Federal Reserve. Specifically, lawmakers want to hear about his decision to pay banks in full to retire $62.1 billion in credit default swaps sold by AIG, and whether Geither disclosed information about those payments properly.

At a hearing on AIG in November, one lawmaker had called on Geithner to step down. If Geithner were to be replaced, "it would have to be someone outside Wall Street," explains Daniel Clifton of Strategas Research Partners. “The argument is that Geithner is too Wall Street.”

And although nobody is tossing their hat in the ring officially, Clifton tells the desk that insiders are whispering about a short list; and the names being floated are Senator Christopher Dodd (D-CT) and former NJ Governor Jon Corzine.

However, Geithner probably isn't going anywhere -- at least not yet. Absent a "smoking gun" most analysts agree that the results of the inquiry won’t trigger a resignation.

But that's not to say they won't do serious damage. Depending on the outcome, the hearing could undercut Geithner's ability to sell the reform on Capitol Hill.

"Is Tim Geithner harmed by the controversy swirling around him over his role in AIG? Absolutely yes," says Allen Sinai, chief economist at Decision Economics in Boston.

"It's hard enough for the secretary of Treasury to make the tough decisions that are expected of him every day, much less have to make them while under a cloud of suspicion," Sinai comments.

What do you think? We want to know!


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