New York, Apr 6: Indian firms such as Reliance Industries (RIL) and Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) has made contributions to the Obama's chief economic advisor Larry Summers either for associations with the firm or for delivering speeches. This has caused waves in the White House as it is likely to cause a conflict of interest with the government programmes.
A document released by the White House regarding this issue on Friday, Apr 3 says, "The speech payments will undoubtedly raise questions as to the impartiality of the economic advice Summers is providing to the President."
Commenting on this issue Ben LaBolt defended Summers saying, "Given that Dr Summers is widely recognized as one of the country's most distinguished economists and formerly served as treasury secretary, there was considerable interest in hearing his economic insights from companies across various industries."
According to the media reports, Reliance paid $187,500 toward advisory board compensation while TCS paid $67,500 as speaking fee as on Sep 21, 2008.
Reliance's spokesperson stated that Summer's contribution in providing the vision to the group was during his 'Harvard days', and he quit all other posts when he joined the US government.
Summers' relationship with TCS is only limited to the keynote speech he delivered in the TCS North America customer summit in Sep 2008, said a TCS spokesperson.