Department of Fake Conflicts of Interest

The New York Times takes a look at some potential conflicts of interest involving Obama appointee spouses, and after a few legitimate points moves on to some weird stuff:

Several other spouses of people tapped for top Obama administration jobs have careers connected to government.

Susan E. Rice, the United Nations ambassador pick, is married to a producer of the ABC program “This Week With George Stephanopoulos.” Gregory B. Craig, the White House counsel designate, is married to a graphic designer who has worked on Postal Service stamps. And the wife of Timothy F. Geithner, who is Mr. Obama’s choice for Treasury secretary, once worked for Common Cause, a watchdog group that lobbies for tighter ethics rules.

The worry is that Geithner might be unduly influenced by his wife’s penchant for ethical government? That Craig will somehow pervert the ordinary postage stamp design process? That doesn’t make any sense. A married person who lives in Washington, DC and has a spouse will almost certainly have a spouse who has some kind of connection to politics and government. That’s pretty much what people do here. But being married to a graphic designer who’s done contract work for a semi-independent government agency is about as far from a conflict of interest as you’re going to find.