Cramer on Geithner's Tax Troubles: 'If it was Cramer, I Would Be Prosecuted'
Like him or not, this time he has a valid point.
CNBC rabble-rouser and âMad Moneyâ host Jim Cramer questioned the merits of Timothy Geithner, President Barack Obamaâs Treasury Secretary-designate, and told viewers on CNBCâs Jan. 22 âStreet Signsâ that, had he been in Geithnerâs shoes, heâd face criminal prosecution.
âI happen to have a meeting with my lawyers just to discuss this â with my battalion of lawyers, the $2,000-a-hour gang â and you know, they would say if it was Cramer, I would be prosecuted, maybe criminally prosecuted,â Cramer said. âAnd my lawyers were somewhat shocked that on Chris Matthews I said it was OK, given the fact they said Geithner better get himself the best lawyer in town.â
Cramer had been vocal about with his criticism of Geithner before Obama tapped him to lead the Treasury in November. He wrote on TheStreet.com in a Nov. 7 blog post that if Geithner were confirmed, âWe are done, finished, kaput. It is that simple.â But later in the month he backed of his harsh rhetoric on NBCâs Nov. 24 âToday.â
âHeâs a smooth hand,â Cramer said. âI wish he werenât involved with whatâs gone wrong but the transition is bold, smart, fast, good.â
Cramer told âStreet Signsâ host Erin Burnett he had given up on fighting the Geithner confirmation and suggested it was best to go ahead and confirm. He also said he had been asked to back off criticizing Geithner at the behest of some on Wall Street.
âI say it doesnât matter,â Cramer said. âI say we got to confirm him. Itâs too late in the game. The guy got a free pass. Thereâs no one â look Iâve been told by Wall Street, âStop it already with Geithner.â Itâs been going on for months that Iâve said Geithnerâs the wrong guy.
Cramer had associated Geithner with some of the woes that caused the market setbacks last fall.
âSo, you know what? I lost, I lost on this one. I told the American people on my little show that this one would be a disaster. But you know what â everybody on Wall Street â all my buddies that lost billions for you, for the American people, told me, âJim, heâs the greatest.â Well, now everybodyâs discovering the truth,â Cramer said. âHeâs all yours partner.â
The media have downplayed the Geithner tax evasion issue. ABC âThis Weekâ host George Stephanopoulos called the whole issue a âspeed bump.â However, Cramer said if it were him â itâd be jail time.
âHey forgive me for saying this, but my lawyers are saying, âJim, if it were you, be prepared to go down.â And Iâm not talking about losing no nomination. Iâm talking about the Shawshank Non-Redemption.â