Washington, D.C., May 30, 2006—The White House made an unfortunate mistake in nominating Henry M. Paulson, Jr. to be the next Secretary of the Treasury, according to the Competitive Enterprise Institute. The Goldman Sachs chairman's other role as chairman of the board of the Nature Conservancy, which is under investigation for financial misdealings that benefited some of its officers and donors, should automatically disqualify him for the top Treasury job.
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“No conservative administration should consider appointing anyone who works for the Nature Conservancy to any position and certainly not to one carrying the high responsibilities of Treasury Secretary. The financial scandals at the Nature Conservancy uncovered by the Washington Post are only the tip of the iceberg. The Nature Conservancy has served as the agent for turning millions of acres of productive private land into federally-owned land and has made huge profits doing so,” said CEI’s Director of Energy & Global Warming Myron Ebell. “The question that needs to be asked is, what will Mr. Paulson be able to do as Treasury Secretary to benefit the Nature Conservancy and its big corporate partners?”
“The Nature Conservancy is one of the most feared environmental groups throughout rural <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />America,” said R. J. Smith, CEI Adjunct Scholar. “While promoting itself as a ‘private’ conservation group, small landowners, family farmers, ranchers and tree farmers know it as a strong-arm real estate agent for the federal government. It acquires land at fire-sale prices from landowners bankrupted by environmental regulations, then turns around and sells most of it to the federal government at inflated prices. The last thing America needs is more range and forest land for the federal government to mismanage and burn down.”
A far better choice for Treasury Secretary would be a candidate in the mold of outgoing Secretary John Snow. During his tenure, Secretary Snow has quietly pursued a strong agenda of pro-growth policies that have left the U.S. economy with low inflation, steady growth, and near record-low unemployment.
“We hope that President Bush will come to see the mistake he’s made and withdraw Mr. Paulson from consideration,” said Ebell. “The country doesn't need another Paul O'Neill, who will neglect his job in order to promote the Kyoto global warming treaty and other radical environmental causes.”