Former Treasury Secretary, Tim Geithner, must hand over to Standard & Poor’s documents he used in his tell-all memoir, “Stress Test: Reflections on Financial Crises.” District Court Judge David Carter of Santa Ana, CA said that publisher McGraw Hill may force Geithner to turn over the documents to Standard & Poor’s, as reported by Reuters. After reviewing the documents, Judge Carter said the U.S. government may invoke the White House privilege before Geithner has to give them to the S&P, which claims they contain pertinent information that the government’s current lawsuit is in retaliation for the rating agency downgrading U.S. debt in 2011.
According to Reuters, Judge Carter wrote, “A former official cannot, on the one hand, withold information in a case of significant public importance, while on the other, collect money from sales of a tell-all book that contains much the same information. The public has a right to every man’s evidence.”
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The U.S. government filed a lawsuit 18 months after the S&P downgraded U.S. debt. The government alleges S&P inflated its rating to get more fees from issuers, but failing to downgrade debt backed by mortgage-backed securities promptly enough.
Geithner’s memoir spent a month on the New York Bestseller’s list, debuting at number 4. His lawyers say requests to hand over the papers compromise his privacy . It is said that Geithner told the chairman of McGaw Hill, Terry McGraw on the telephone that he was “accountable” for a $2 trillion math error and the S&P 500 should be “looked at very carefully.” This was shortly after the S&P downgraded U.S. debt from its former AA rating.