Newman, Knight to Get Whitewater-Caused Treasury Vacancies
WASHINGTON (AP) _ Treasury Secretary Lloyd Bentsen is turning to a newfound loyalist and a longtime aide to fill top vacancies caused by the Whitewater affair.
Bentsen wants Undersecretary Frank N. Newman to be his deputy and Edward S. Knight, his executive secretary and senior adviser, to be the Treasury Department’s general counsel.
Newman, 52, ″is the right man to take over from Roger Altman,″ Bentsen said. Altman resigned as deputy secretary - the department’s No. 2 job - Wednesday because of his involvement in the Whitewater controversy.
Newman came to Bentsen’s attention in early 1993, when he was recommended as undersecretary by the treasury secretary’s banking friends on the West Coast.
Knight, on the other hand, has been a trusted Bentsen adviser for years, serving first on Bentsen’s Senate staff from 1976 to 1978. He would succeed Jean E. Hanson, who resigned Thursday, as Treasury’s top lawyer.
Altman quit after being accused of failing to respond fully to congressional investigators’ questions about contacts between the White House and the Treasury Department concerning the Whitewater probe. Hanson was criticized for failing to correct Altman’s testimony immediately.
Newman is considered a fiscal conservative who has been the Clinton administration’s point man on banking issues, including the interstate banking and community development legislation.
According to the Quincy, Mass., Patriot Ledger, Newman planned to serve only a couple of years in Washington but told a friend he had changed his mind out of ″tremendous loyalty to Bentsen″ when Altman’s resignation appeared imminent.
As undersecretary for domestic finance, Newman oversees development of policy and guides the department in areas of managing the public debt and financial institutions policy and regulation.
If confirmed as deputy secretary by the Senate, he would assume responsibility for the department’s day-to-day operations and help Bentsen in formulating overall Treasury policy.
However, Newman is unlikely to have the latitude that Altman had.
Before joining BankAmerica in 1986, Newman spent 13 years with Wells Fargo, rising to executive vice president and chief financial officer in 1980.
He was born in Quincy and earned a B.A. in economics magna cum laude from Harvard University in 1963.
After his service on Bentsen’s Senate staff, Knight joined the Washington law firm of Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld, where he was a senior partner when he resigned to accept his Treasury post.
At Treasury, he has been involved in the administration’s fight to win approval of the North American Free Trade Agreement and the new World Trade Organization.
″His understanding of Treasury’s broad responsibility, especially in the legal field, give him the insight necessary to lead this critical area of the department,″ Bentsen said.
″In his capacity as executive secretary, Ed has worked regularly with the Office of General Counsel in the process of developing regulations and in the development of department-wide administrative guidelines.″
Born in Amarillo, Texas, 43 years ago and raised in Houston, Knight received bachelor’s and law degrees from the University of Texas at Austin.