How Rahm cashed in

Rahm Emanuel faces no confirmation hearings as White House Chief of Staff, and that's a good thing for him. Michael Luo of the New York Times does a good job of examining how a political operative in the Clinton White House became a rich man in a brief interlude before he ran for Congress and returned to DC.

Mr. Emanuel, who was chosen last month to become President-elect Barack Obama's White House chief of staff, went on to make more than $18 million in just two-and-a-half years, turning many of his contacts in his substantial political Rolodex into paying clients and directing his negotiating prowess and trademark intensity to mergers and acquisitions.

I am all but certain there is nothing illegal in anything Rahm did. He's far too smart to cut corners when high level investment banking offers so many opportunities to make money within the law. There's nothing legally wrong about capitalizing on connections and making millions of dollars working with regulated industries that always need friends in high places.

Morally, now that Wall Street is in such ethical disrepute, many Americans might wonder what kind of man takes advantage of its opportunities for quick bucks on a scale most of us cannot dream of. As Democrats like to say about Republicans, the scandal isn't about breaking the law, it's about what is legal.

The candidate who was all about change you can believe in has entrusted his operations to a man who is all about cashng in on connections. It would have been nice to see Rahm squirm under klieg lights at a confirmation hearing, but he's too smart to accept a job that requires them.

Hat tip: Ed Lasky