Washington, Feb.5 (ANI): The White House's nominee for Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, Leon Panetta, earned over 700,000 dollars in speaking and consulting fees since the beginning of 2008, with some of the payments coming from troubled financial firms and from a firm that invests in contractors for federal national security agencies, according to financial disclosures released Wednesday and reviewed by the Wall Street Journal.
Panetta received 56,000 dollars from Merrill Lynch and Co. for two speeches and 28,000 dollars for a speech for Wachovia Corp., according to disclosures released ahead of Thursday's scheduled Senate hearing on Panetta's nomination.
Both Merrill and Wachovia reported big losses last year and were acquired by larger firms. The Wachovia honorarium was dated October 30, and the last Merrill Lynch honorarium was dated October 11, according to disclosure forms filed by Panetta in connection with his nomination.
At the time, Bank of America had agreed to a rescue of Merrill Lynch; Wachovia had agreed to be acquired by Wells Fargo and Co.
The former White House chief of staff's disclosure form also shows the delicate balance President Barack Obama is trying to strike -- trying to curb the influence of lobbyists in his administration, while relying on long-time Washington veterans who often help clients navigate the halls of power.
Panetta's forms show that he performed government affairs consulting last year and also sat on the board of a public affairs firm that lobbies Congress, though Panetta doesn't violate Obama's ban on hiring registered lobbyists. (ANI)