James B. Comey might be President Barack Obama's choice as the next director of the FBI, but he might face tough questions from the Senate Judiciary Committee about his recent past in the hedge fund industry.
The Obama administration has not announced its candidate to replace Robert S. Mueller III, who is leaving the FBI in September. However, two sources confirmed that Mr. Comey is the choice, according to Bloomberg. The sources spoke on condition of anonymity.
Mr. Comey was general counsel of Bridgewater Associates until earlier this year.
That association with a large and influential hedge fund company might cause problems for Mr. Comey's confirmation by the Senate's Judiciary Committee, according to Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa. Mr. Grassley, the ranking Republican on Committee.
“If he's nominated, he would have to answer questions about his recent work in the hedge fund industry. The administration's efforts to criminally prosecute Wall Street for its part in the economic downturn have been abysmal, and his agency would have to help build the case against some of his colleagues in this lucrative industry,” said Mr. Grassley in an e-mailed statement.
“I appreciate … that Mr. Comey has a lot of experience on national security issues, which is one of the most important focuses for the FBI in the aftermath of 9/11 and (he) has shown integrity in dealing with these matters,” he said in the statement.
Mr. Comey joined Bridgewater in 2010 to oversee the firm's legal affairs and also served on the management committee. Bridgewater manages $150 billion for institutional clients, of which about $40 billion is in hedge funds.
"President Obama could not have picked a man with greater integrity or a stronger moral beacon than Jim Comey,” Raymond T. Dalio, Bridgewater's founder and co-chief investment officer said in an e-mailed statement.
A Republican lawyer with University of Chicago credentials, Mr. Comey served as deputy attorney general during President George W. Bush's administration. He left government service in 2005 to become general counsel for Lockheed Martin Corp. before joining Bridgewater. He was appointed as a non-executive director to the board of HSBC Holdings in January and also is a senior research scholar and Hertog Fellow on National Security at Columbia University Law School.
Bloomberg contributed to this story.