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Lew will continue tie between Treasury and Council on Foreign Relations

By Laurie Bennett

January 10, 2013 at 1:42pm

The connections between the business community, the Council on Foreign Relations and the federal government couldn’t get much closer.

The Muckety map below illustrates one dimension: the many ties between CFR and the Treasury Department.

Included in the map are current Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and eight former secretaries.

Jacob Lew, President Obama’s pick to be Geithner’s successor, is also a member. Obama announced Lew’s nomination today.

CFR often acts as a “convenor,” bringing together government and business. On the corporate side, our examination of current CFR membership shows 44 members who serve as chairman and/or CEO of Fortune 1000 companies.

We’ve created a separate Muckety map that shows them, along with their company affiliations. Eight of those companies are also corporate members of the council.

The council offers three levels of corporate membership, costing $30,000 to $100,000-plus.

CFR’s web site lists 164 corporate members, including such global companies as Exxon Mobil, Wal-Mart, Chevron and ConocoPhillips. (Our linked list of corporate members begins here.)

The program includes member-only opportunities to hear and meet with leaders such as Geithner and International Monetary Fund managing director Christine Lagarde.

These activities fall outside the government definition of lobbying, and the council is not a registered lobbying group. Yet it provides corporate leaders with access to top policy makers.

This access is geared not only to informing, but to persuading.

As former Caterpillar chairman and CEO James W. Owens, who heads CFR’s corporate program, notes in this video, from the CFR web site, the council is “very influential in the development of U.S. foreign policy and a lot of commercial issues… as well as defense policy.”

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