Obama announces Treasury nominees

After some candidates have dropped out of contention, President Barack Obama has announced three high-level nominations for Treasury Department posts. These include: Helen Elizabeth Garrett for assistant Treasury secretary for tax policy, Michael S. Barr for assistant Treasury secretary for financial institutions, and George W. Madison for the department's general counsel.

"With the current set of financial challenges and Treasury's central role in developing and implementing policies to address them, all of these positions each in their own way are extremely important," former Treasury official Jeff Kupfer told Bloomberg.com.

Some early Obama candidates have dropped out of contention for Treasury posts, making Secretary Timothy Geithner's job even more difficult. Senate confirmation is needed for all three posts. Here is some biographical information about each nominee:

Helen Elizabeth Garrett
Garrett, 45, is the University of Southern California's Vice President for Academic Planning and Budget and the Sydney M. Irmas Professor of Public Interest Law, Legal Ethics, Political Science, and Policy, Planning, and Development. At USC, she oversees resource allocation and manages academic programs and priorities. She is co-director of the USC-Caltech Center for the Study of Law and Politics. In January 2005, she was appointed to President George W. Bush's nine-member bipartisan Advisory Panel on Federal Tax Reform. She chairs the finance committee of the national governing board of Common Cause. Garrett clerked for Justice Thurgood Marshall at the U.S. Supreme Court and served as legal counsel and legislative assistant for tax, budget, and welfare reform issues for U.S. Senator David L. Boren. She has been a professor at the University of Chicago Law School. She graduated from the University of Oklahoma and the University of Virginia Law School.

Michael S. Barr
Barr, 43, a law professor at the University of Michigan Law School, teaches financial institutions, international finance, transnational law, and jurisdiction and choice of law. He co-founded the International Transactions Clinic and is a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress and at the Brookings Institution. Barr has served as special assistant to former Treasury Secretary Robert E. Rubin, as deputy assistant secretary of the Treasury, as special advisor to President William J. Clinton, as special advisor and counselor on the policy planning staff at the State Department, and as a law clerk to U.S. Supreme Court Justice David H. Souter and then-District Court Judge Pierre N. Leval of the Southern District of New York. Barr is a former Rhodes Scholar with law and undergraduate degrees from Yale University.

George W. Madison
Madison, 55, is TIAA-CREF's Executive Vice President and General Counsel. He joined the financial services firm in 2003 after six years as executive vice president, general counsel, and corporate secretary at Comerica Incorporated. He has been a partner at the law firm of Mayer, Brown & Platt in New York, practicing banking and structured finance law for foreign and domestic money center banks. He served as law clerk to Judge Nathaniel R. Jones at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit in Cincinnati. He graduated from New York University's Stern School of Business, has a law degree from Columbia Law School, and an M.B.A. from Columbia Business School.

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