No Best Picture, but Another Washington Party for Lincoln

Photograph by Christopher Polk/Getty Images

Actor Daniel Day-Lewis and wife Rebecca Miller arrive at Hollywood & Highland Center on Feb. 24, 2013 in Hollywood.

Fresh from a mixed Oscars performance, the reanimated spirit of Abraham Lincoln can seek solace today in the 150th birthday celebration kicked off by one of his lesser-known legacies.

While fighting the Civil War and emancipating slaves, the 16th president also found time to breathe life into a federal banking system, starting with the National Currency Act on Feb. 25, 1863. That law led to the establishment of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency.

Today the OCC, as it’s known, announced with pride the start of a yearlong celebration of its heritage.

“I am especially proud to lead the agency as it achieves this milestone in its distinguished history,” said the OCC’s current chief, Thomas Curry, issuing a huzzah to his agency’s “long heritage of public service.” Recognition will continue at agency events throughout the year.

As with most regulatory efforts, Lincoln’s was born of crisis: a little matter of finding a way to pay for the war. Today’s members of Lincoln’s Republican Party will likely spend the OCC’s sesquicentennial year looking askance at the stiffening of banking regulations provided in the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act.

No word yet on whether Daniel Day-Lewis will be available to blow out candles.

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