After Taking Millions in Speaking Fees from Wall Street, Treasury Secretary Yellen Redacted 73 Meetings or Phone Calls in First 3 Months in Office

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: August 13, 2021 ~

Janet Yellen

U. S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen

After stepping down as Fed Chair on February 3, 2018, Janet Yellen began a whirlwind of speaking engagements that netted her millions of dollars over the next two years. But when it came time to disclose those fees after she was nominated by President Biden to become Treasury Secretary, Yellen disclosed only the fees she had made in 2019 and 2020, not the millions she had made in fees in 2018. What Yellen did disclose showed more than $7 million in speaking fees, with the bulk of that coming from Wall Street banks, trading houses and hedge funds.

As the news broke this past January about Yellen’s cash haul, Senior Reporter Jesse Eisinger of ProPublica Tweeted this: “Deeply troubling two-fisted money grab from banks by Janet Yellen. This is corruption, but isn’t called that because it’s so quotidian.” Eisinger added: “Sure, Yellen might think she can make independent decisions once in office. But how arrogant is it to imagine that money corrupts everyone but you?”

Yellen brought this distrust on herself. Now the American people have a right to echo Jesse Eisinger and ask: how arrogant is it for Janet Yellen to think she can black out phone calls and meetings on her daily appointment calendar as U.S. Treasury Secretary and not fall under suspicion.

Yellen’s Daily Appointment Calendar shows that in her first three months in office, she has blacked out (redacted) 73 phone calls or meetings.

There must be something particularly embarrassing about the people involved in at least some of these redacted meetings and phone calls because there are unredacted names on her appointment calendar that certainly raise eyebrows.

On January 28, Yellen had a 30-minute phone call with former President Bill Clinton. The Treasury Department is the parent agency of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Bill Clinton’s Clinton Foundation has had tax questions swirling around it for years.

On February 11, Yellen had a 15-minute phone call with billionaires Bill and Melinda Gates. Bill Gates has one of the largest family office hedge funds in the world, Cascade Investment LLC. But as we reported in May, Cascade stopped filing its 13F listing of stocks in its portfolio with the Securities and Exchange Commission in 2008, despite Cascade holding tens of billions of dollars in securities. See our reporting here.

On March 2, Yellen had a 15-minute phone call with James Gorman, the CEO of Morgan Stanley. Morgan Stanley is one of the Wall Street firms that paid Yellen an undisclosed amount for a speaking engagement in 2018.

On March 11, Yellen had a 15-minute phone call with Larry Fink, CEO of BlackRock, the giant asset manager. BlackRock was retained on March 24, 2020 in a no-bid contract to manage the $750 billion corporate bond buying programs as part of the Fed’s emergency bailouts of Wall Street. The Treasury, using taxpayer money under the CARES Act, guaranteed $75 billion of this program. BlackRock was allowed to buy up its own Exchange Traded Funds under one part of this program. (See our reporting here.)

On March 28, Yellen had a 30-minute phone call with Henry (Hank) Paulson, former Chairman and CEO of Goldman Sachs, who had worked at Goldman for three decades before he became Treasury Secretary under President George W. Bush. Paulson sat at the helm of Goldman Sachs when a large portion of its toxic collateralized debt obligations (CDOs) were sold to unsuspecting investors. Paulson helped to structure the Wall Street bailout in 2008, with his former firm being a major beneficiary.

Since 2018, Paulson, together with former Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner and former Fed Chair Ben Bernanke, have been advocating to gut restrictions placed in the Dodd-Frank financial reform legislation of 2010 and restore the ability of federal regulators, like the Fed and FDIC, to randomly bail out Wall Street’s hubris.

The trio whined in a September 7, 2018 OpEd in the New York Times that “Congress has taken away some of the tools that were crucial to us during the 2008 panic. It’s time to bring them back.” They also jointly wrote a book that was released in 2019 titled Firefighting: The Financial Crisis and Its Lessons. The book attempted to portray the three as heroic firefighters putting out the flames of the 2008 financial crisis. In reality, the Treasury and the Fed propped up insolvent institutions and Bernanke oversaw an unprecedented and secret $29 trillion bailout of the corrupt Wall Street banks and their foreign derivative counterparties.

Yellen brought millions of dollars in Wall Street baggage to this Cabinet-level position. She bears close watching.

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