Jake Siewert joins his friend Tim Geithner at Treasury

By A. James Memmott

May 8, 2009 at 10:18am

Richard L. “Jake” Siewert Jr., a veteran of the Clinton White House, is joining the Obama administration as a counselor to his friend, Treasury secretary Timothy F. Geithner.

Siewert was Bill Clinton’s last presidential press secretary. He worked then with several people in addition to Geithner who are now key players in the Obama administration.

According to press reports, he will advise Geithner on a variety of issues, including the best ways to communicate during the current economic crisis.

“The Treasury secretary is steeped in economic policy,” wrote The New York Times. “But he acknowledges he is less familiar with the political and public messaging aspects of his job.”

Siewert, 45, is currently the vice president for business development and strategy for Alcoa, the metals firm.

He was reportedly convinced to return to a government post by Rahm Emanuel, Obama’s chief of staff. Like Siewert, Emanuel is a former member of the Clinton administration.

Siewert succeeded Joe Lockhart as Clinton’s press secretary in September 2000. He served until the end of Clinton’s term in January 2001.

Before that, he had been deputy press secretary for two years. Earlier, he was Clinton’s special assistant on the National Economic Council.

At the Economic Council, Siewert worked under Gene B. Sperling, who is now a counselor to Geithner. He also got to know Geithner, then a high-ranking official in the Treasury department.

Siewert met his wife, Christine L. Anderson, in 2000, when she was director of press pool operations at the White House. They married in 2005 and have a six-month-old son, Anderson Siewert.

In 2004, Anderson served as deputy press secretary for the John Kerry presidential campaign. Two years later she was the press secretary for Eliot Spitzer’s successful gubernatorial campaign in New York.

She then served as communications director in Gov. Spitzer’s office until he resigned in March 2008 after the revelation that he had patronized a prostitute.

Anderson is now vice president of corporate communications for the Blackstone Group, a private equity firm headed by Stephen A. Schwarzman.

Siewert’s appointment to the Treasury post has not been officially announced. According to the Times, he will assume his duties in June and will commute to Washington from his home in New York City.

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