President Biden’s nominee for Comptroller of the Currency, Saule Omarova, is receiving a closer look as Senators consider her nomination due to a torrent of negative news stories in recent weeks. At least three Democrats have raised their concerns, placing Omarova’s nomination in limbo.
Just days after The White House announced Omarova as its nominee for Comptroller of the Currency, a role in which she would work to ensure that banks are run in a safe manner, critics began coming forward with rather surprising facts about her background and beliefs.
The Kazakh-born Cornell Law School professor is known for her outspoken views on Marxism, central banking, and investing. Omarova was awarded the “Lenin Personal Academic Scholarship” from Moscow State University, and wrote her thesis in Moscow titled “Karl Marx’s Economic Analysis and the Theory of Revolution in Capital.”
A revolutionary, Omarova is. It was reported on October 17, 2021, she refused to turn over the controversial thesis to Senate Banking Committee Ranking Member Pat Toomey (R, Penn), raising questions about her transparency.
In yet another sign of Omarova’s far-left views, she was a member of a Marxist Facebook group, titled “Marxist Analysis and Policy,” as recently as 2019. She has also called executives in the banking industry “quintessential a**holes.”
These personal views, as expressed in her academic papers, influence her public comments, as well. Omarova’s comments from March 2021 raised eyebrows in a discussion organized by the Jain Family Institute, with the nominee saying that she wants the coal, oil and gas industry “to go bankrupt if we want to tackle climate change.” As a professor at Cornell University, Omarova has called to “end banking as we know it” by advocating the transfer of American private bank accounts to a centralized system, under the control of the Federal Reserve.
‘End Banking as We Know It’
The Cornell professor explores this dramatic redesign in a paper written in October 2020, noting, “Banks, in other words, will not be ‘special’ anymore. By separating their lending function from their monetary function, the proposed reform will effectively ‘end banking,’ as we know it.”
All Republican senators are opposed to her nomination, with Senator Toomey saying in an October speech that he has not seen “a more radical choice for any regulatory spot in our federal government.” Toomey’s view is backed up by banking trade groups, such as the American Bankers Association, which have begun lobbying against Omarova’s nomination.
Republicans and banking groups are not the only detractors. According to Axios, at least three Senate Democrats, including Senators Manchin (D-W. Virginia) and Sinema (D-Arizona) are alarmed at the nomination of Saule Omarova. Banking Committee Member Jon Tester (D-Montana), who serves on the committee with Senator Toomey, noted his concerns with Politico in October, saying “I want to give her a fair shake, but I do have concerns”.
Omarova’s nomination remains fluid, as the evenly split Senate considers a nominee with apparent Marxist sympathies. Despite this, Omarova has found defenders from the White House, with an official telling The Wall Street Journal she was nominated due to her “strong track record on regulation and strong academic credentials”, and telling Axios that she is “eminently qualified” and that Omarova would be a “historic nomination”.
Additionally, Omarova has found advocates from Senators Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) and Chris Van Hollen (D-Maryland), with Sen. Brown blasting Republicans for their “Red-scare attacks” and deeming critiques of Omarova a “character assassination.”
Influential Women of Color
The nominee herself has fired back at her critics, saying they “demonize” her identity as the potential first woman of color to lead the Comptroller of the Currency. When Omarova was asked by the Financial Times if the attacks on her views were racist, she indicated that, indeed, they were, telling the paper, “I am an easy target: I am an immigrant, a woman, and a minority”.
Her critics and banking groups remain ardently united against her, expressing their concerns over what Omarova’s far-reaching agenda would mean for the Treasury Department, and the country. It remains to be seen whether Omarova’s uphill climb to confirmation will succeed or not.
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