Michele Davis, a former top aide to Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson, has told colleagues that she will join the Romney campaign to lead a vigorous effort to defend his career in the private sector, a source told BuzzFeed Wednesday.
Davis is currently a partner at the Brunswick Group in Washington, D.C., a corporate public relations and strategy firm, where she was reportedly the firm's lead — alongside then-Brunswick executive Hilary Rosen — in managing the oil company BP's public relations effort in the wake of a giant Gulf of Mexico oil spill. She served as Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs and Director of Policy Planning at the Department of the Treasury from 2006 through the end of the Bush Administration, and is a veteran of the politics and P.R. of government and finance
But Davis will also bring some very high-profile baggage to Romney's campaign. She arrived at Treasury from Fannie Mae, the giant, government-backed firm that backs a large share of the nations mortgages. She was vice president for regulatory policy at Fannie Mae from 2002 to 2006, and is listed as a registered lobbyist for the troubled and controversial entity — which made a practice of keeping a bipartisan squad of Washington insiders on payroll — in 2004. (Indeed, Mitt Romney attacked rival Newt Gingrich for taking payments from Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae's sibling entity.)
She also served at Fannie Mae during a time in which it was found to have doctored its earnings statements to juice executives' bonuses, for which it paid a massive $400 million in penalties.
She help convince Congress and America of the necessity of the bank bailouts known as TARP, and has spoken warmly of the Obama Administration's embrace of that program.
Indeed, Davis said in a recent speech in Hong Kong, pointed out by a Democratic source that she was pleased that Tim Geithner had been chosen to replace her boss, and that she played an active role in the transition to the Obama Administration.