July 20, 2009

Emanuel refuses JPMorgan talk invitation

White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel will not speak at the JPMorgan Chase & Co. board meeting Monday to avoid appearing too cozy with the company, he said.

Emanuel, a longtime acquaintance of JPMorgan Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon, had agreed to consider the bank's invitation after Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner declined out of conflict-of-interest concerns, The New York Times reported.

JPMorgan Chase has numerous business and regulatory dealings with Geithner's department.

Emanuel said the White House counsel's office said Sunday evening he would be held to the same standard as Geithner, the Times said.

JPMorgan would not comment on the decision.

Another administration official and two lawmakers were also expected to speak to the board, but their identities were not disclosed, the newspaper said.

Emanuel's decision came after a Times article Sunday said Emanuel's plans to speak before the board were evidence of Dimon's heightened political profile and influence in Washington.

JPMorgan, the second-largest U.S. bank, reported a 36 percent increase in quarterly profit last week.