Obama Appoints Kent Conrad's Ethics Lawyer To White House Counsel


President Obama has a new White House Counsel, and he’s got a lengthy history in defending ethically-challenged politicians.

Including North Dakota’s own Kent Conrad who faced an inquiry into a discounted “VIP loan” he received from Countrywide Financial around the same time he was helping to usher bailout legislation for Countrywise through the Senate.

During the 2008-9 presidential transition, for example, he represented Mr. Obama’s first chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, when Mr. Emanuel spoke to investigators looking into whether Rod Blagojevich, the governor of Illinois at the time, had tried to sell an appointment to fill the Senate seat Mr. Obama was vacating.

Around the same time, Mr. Eggleston also represented Senator Kent Conrad, Democrat of North Dakota, during a congressional ethics inquiry into a mortgage he had received from Countrywide Financial.

In 2007, Mr. Eggleston represented Sara Taylor, a White House political affairs director in the George W. Bush administration, when she faced questions from a congressional oversight committee into a mass firing of United States attorneys and other Bush policies that Democrats portrayed as politicizing the work of federal agencies.

Eggleston must be pretty good on his job.

Despite Conrad’s VIP loan landing him on a 2010 list of corrupt politicians, he was exonerated by the Senate Ethics Committee despite admitting to talking to Countrywide CEO Angelo Mozilo about his discounted loan. In fact, the committee failed to obtain key documents from Bank of America (which bought out Countrywide) about Conrad’s loan, and other VIP loans to members of Congress and congressional staff, and it refused to reveal any of the exculpatory evidence they used to clear Conrad.