Lew Talked With Summers at Least Three Times, Calendar Shows

U.S. Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew has met or talked with Harvard professor Lawrence Summers, a candidate to become the next Federal Reserve chairman, at least three times this year, according to a calendar released today of Lew’s meetings and phone calls.

Lew held talks with Summers on March 19, the calendar shows. The call was placed to Summers while Lew was traveling in China and a financial crisis was unfolding in Cyprus. The others listed were meetings in Lew’s office April 5 and June 4, the records show.

The Treasury chief also met with former Fed Vice Chairman Donald Kohn, on March 22, the calendar showed. Kohn was mentioned last month by President Barack Obama as another possible contender to replace Fed Chairman Ben S. Bernanke, whose term ends Jan. 31.

Lew is among the advisers helping Obama decide who will succeed Bernanke. Speculation over Bernanke’s replacement intensified after the president said in a mid-June interview with Charlie Rose that Bernanke has “already stayed a lot longer than he wanted or he was supposed to.”

The calendar, portions of which were redacted, doesn’t show that Lew has had calls or hosted meetings with Janet Yellen, the Fed’s current vice chairman who is also in the running to get the top job.

Lew spends time with Yellen at events including international meetings, a Treasury official said. The two spoke at a Group of Seven meeting of finance ministers and central bankers in the U.K. in May and during a Group of 20 gathering in Moscow in July, according to the official, who requested anonymity because the meetings aren’t public.

Paulson, Geithner

The records released today, from February through July 31, also showed Lew had conversations with former Treasury secretaries other than Summers, including Robert Rubin, Henry Paulson and Timothy F. Geithner.

On Feb. 28, Lew’s first day in the office, his first official call was to Senator Max Baucus, a Democrat from Montana who chairs the Senate Finance Committee that held his confirmation hearing, the calendar shows. He then dialed up Goldman Sachs Group Inc. Chief Executive Officer Lloyd Blankfein, BlackRock Inc. CEO Laurence D. Fink and U.S. Chamber of Commerce CEO Thomas Donohue.

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