Loading...

Biden Pick to Lead Major Banking Regulator Drops Out

December 7, 2021 by Dan McCue
Biden Pick to Lead Major Banking Regulator Drops Out
Saule Omarova (Photo courtesy of Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs)

WASHINGTON — Saule Omarova, a law professor at Cornell University who was President Biden’s pick to be the next head of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, has withdrawn her name from consideration after several Republicans accused her of communist sympathies.

In a letter to President Biden, Omarova said it was a “great honor and a true privilege to be nominated” and that she deeply values the president’s trust in her abilities.

“At this point in the process, however, it is no longer tenable for me to continue as a presidential nominee,” she wrote.

Omarova’s withdrawal comes weeks after a heated confirmation hearing before the Senate Banking Committee in which Republican after Republican parsed her writings and her childhood in the former Soviet Union.

Omarova, who is a U.S. citizen and is currently a professor of corporate law and financial regulation at Cornell University, was born in what is now Kazakhstan.

She came to the U.S. as part of an exchange program when she was a student at Moscow State University in 1991. But when the Soviet Union collapsed in December 1991, she was effectively stranded in the United States.

Particularly irksome to her critics are writings in which she has proposed dramatic changes to the U.S. financial system. In one, she suggested the federal government solve the issue of “unbanked” citizens — typically the poor and minorities — by offering every American a bank account through the federal reserve.

Another of her papers espoused creating a regulatory agency to approve or reject new financial products similar to the way the Food and Drug Administration approves and rejects new medicines and vaccines.

The criticism peaked with an editorial penned by The Wall Street Journal’s conservative editorial board entitled “A Banking Regulator Who Hates Banks.”

At one point the editorial noted, “Senate Republicans have asked for a copy of her thesis, ‘Karl Marx’s Economic Analysis and the Theory of Revolution in The Capital.’ She hasn’t complied, and neither has she repudiated her Soviet-era views.”

Later it opined that “opposition to Ms. Omarova is based on her radical views and concern that she’d abuse her supervisory power as Comptroller to expand political control over the private economy. Most financial regulatory agencies are structured as boards or commissions, but the Comptroller can exercise power unilaterally. She would also sit on the Financial Stability Oversight Council — which has sweeping power to regulate ‘systemically important’ risks.

“The Senate should defer to Presidents on most nominees, but not on one who loathes the institutions and system she’d regulate,” the WSJ’s editorial board said.

The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency was established during the Civil War to regulate and supervise banks and ensure equal treatment to all bank customers.

Though it technically is housed within the Treasury Department, it operates as an independent agency.

In a statement released by the White House Tuesday evening, President Biden accepted Omarova’s request to withdraw her name from nomination, and went on to explain he nominated her in the first place “because of her deep expertise in financial regulation and her long-standing, respected career in the private sector, the public sector, and as a leading academic in the field.” 

“She has lived the American dream, escaping her birthplace in the former Soviet Union and immigrating to America, where she went on to serve in the Treasury Department under President George W. Bush and now works as a professor at Cornell Law School,” the president continued.

“As a strong advocate for consumers and a staunch defender of the safety and soundness of our financial system, Saule would have brought invaluable insight and perspective to our important work on behalf of the American people. But unfortunately, from the very beginning of her nomination, Saule was subjected to inappropriate personal attacks that were far beyond the pale.”

Dan can be reached at dan@thewellnews.com and at https://twitter.com/DanMcCue

In The News

Health

Voting

Banking

December 7, 2021
by Dan McCue
Biden Pick to Lead Major Banking Regulator Drops Out

WASHINGTON — Saule Omarova, a law professor at Cornell University who was President Biden’s pick to be the next head... Read More

WASHINGTON — Saule Omarova, a law professor at Cornell University who was President Biden’s pick to be the next head of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, has withdrawn her name from consideration after several Republicans accused her of communist sympathies. In a letter... Read More

Biden to Keep Powell as Fed Chair, Brainard Gets Vice Chair

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden announced Monday that he's nominating Jerome Powell for a second four-year term as Federal... Read More

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden announced Monday that he's nominating Jerome Powell for a second four-year term as Federal Reserve chair, endorsing Powell's stewardship of the economy through a brutal pandemic recession in which the Fed's ultra-low rate policies helped bolster confidence and revitalize the... Read More

October 19, 2021
by Dan McCue
Administration Scaling Back Plan to Deepen IRS Scrutiny Into Bank Accounts

WASHINGTON - The Biden administration is reversing course on a proposal that would have required banks to flag private accounts... Read More

WASHINGTON - The Biden administration is reversing course on a proposal that would have required banks to flag private accounts to the Internal Revenue Service when an individual deposit or withdrawal exceeded $600. A revised plan, expected to be announced by Senate Finance Chair Ron Wyden,... Read More

October 12, 2021
by Dan McCue
IMF Downgrades Global Growth Outlook on Supply Chain Woes, Uncertainty

WASHINGTON -- The International Monetary Fund on Tuesday downgraded its estimate for global gross domestic product growth this year, citing... Read More

WASHINGTON -- The International Monetary Fund on Tuesday downgraded its estimate for global gross domestic product growth this year, citing supply chain concerns and uncertainties related to the pandemic. However, the global financial institution suggests growth should rebound next year. The IMF publishes its World Economic... Read More

March 11, 2021
by Victoria Turner
Historic Hearing on Racial Inequality

Paulina Gonzalez-Brito’s grandfather bought a house in a southeast neighborhood of Los Angeles in the 1930s that was designated a... Read More

Paulina Gonzalez-Brito’s grandfather bought a house in a southeast neighborhood of Los Angeles in the 1930s that was designated a “yellow area” under the U.S. Housing and Urban Development redlining map of the time, which singled out neighborhoods based on income and race. Redlining allowed banks... Read More

August 20, 2020
by Gracie Kreth
Senate Committee on Aging Reports on Financial Challenges Women Face

WASHINGTON - United States Senators Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Bob Casey, D-Penn., the chairman and ranking member, respectively, of the... Read More

WASHINGTON - United States Senators Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Bob Casey, D-Penn., the chairman and ranking member, respectively, of the Special Committee on Aging, released a report last week examining the challenges older women face preparing financially for retirement.  During their later years, women on average... Read More

News From The Well
Exit mobile version