Earlier this evening, Senator Elizabeth Warren boldly declared that she is fed up with President Obama’s habitual appointment of Wall Street insiders to key positions in his administration.
Senator Warren expressed her exasperation through a piece she authored for HuffPo, appropriately titled, “Enough Is Enough: The President’s Latest Wall Street Nominee“.
I believe President Obama deserves deference in picking his team, and I’ve generally tried to give him that. But enough is enough. [emphasis added]
Last Wednesday, President Obama announced his nomination of Antonio Weiss to serve as Under Secretary for Domestic Finance at the Treasury Department. This is a position that oversees Dodd-Frank implementation and a wide range of banking and economic policymaking issues, including consumer protection.
Warren then gets into why the nomination of Weiss is grossly inappropriate:
So who is Antonio Weiss? He’s the head of global investment banking for the financial giant Lazard. He has spent the last 20 years of his career at Lazard — most of it advising on international mergers and acquisitions… Neither his background nor his professional experience makes him qualified to oversee consumer protection and domestic regulatory functions at the Treasury.
And there’s also the fact that Weiss’s work at Lazard included corporate inversions, including the notorious Burger King – Tim Horton’s deal that would turn Burger King into a Canadian company for tax purposes.
While Obama’s nomination of Weiss is certainly abhorrent, it is just business as usual for President Obama. Senator Warren explains:
In recent years, President Obama has repeatedly turned to nominees with close Wall Street ties for high-level economic positions. [emphasis added]
She’s right, of course. Here’s a quick list. Let me know if I’ve left anybody off that should be included.
- Gene Sperling (Goldman Sachs) – Director of the National Economic Council
- Jacob Lew (Citigroup) – Treasury Secretary
- Stanley Fisher (Citigroup) – Vice Chairman of the Federal Reserve
- William Daley (J.P. Morgan Chase) – Chief of Staff
- Rahm Emanuel (Wasserstein Perella) – Chief of Staff
- Nathan Sheets (Citigroup) – Treasury Under Secretary for International Affairs
- Stefan Selig (Bank of America) – Under Secretary for International Trade at the Department of Commerce
So, President Obama clearly has quite a track record of appointing Wall Street exec’s, and now he’s trying to add Antonio Weiss to the list. Senator Warren could not have said it any better: Enough is enough.