By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: November 19, 2021 ~
Yesterday, at 11:41 a.m., as Cornell Law Professor Saule Omarova sat before the Senate Banking Committee for her confirmation hearing to head of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), the regulator of national banks, Republican Senator Tom Cotton Tweeted the following:
“Saule Omarova stole $214 (~$400 adjusted for inflation) from T.J. Maxx in 1995. She’s woefully unqualified to supervise the banking system.”
Cotton’s Tweet links to a Fox News report which indicates that it has obtained the police report that shows that Omarova was 28 years old at the time of the arrest in 1995. The items she was reported to have taken without paying for them were “four pairs of shoes, two bottles of cologne, two belts and socks.” According to the report, she had left the store with the items when confronted by a security guard who had observed her stuffing them into her large purse inside the store.
If Omarova had been a teenager stealing candy from a convenience store, this would not be a disqualifying incident to become a banking regulator. But Omarova was 28 years old at the time. She has been nominated by the President of the United States to head an agency that oversees banks holding $14 trillion in assets. Having a nominee with zero arrest records for stealing as an adult would likely be a vetting requirement in the minds of most Americans.
According to the Fox News report, a spokesperson for the Chair of the Senate Banking Committee, Senator Sherrod Brown, a Democrat from Ohio, responded to Fox News that Omarova has “been the subject of a relentless smear campaign.”
The Democrats have used the phrase “smear campaign” so often in connection with Omarova that we decided to look up the dictionary definition. The most frequent definition is “a campaign to tarnish the reputation of a public figure, especially by vilification or innuendo.”
The problem for Democrats is that the Republicans have produced a mountain of facts, not innuendo, to demonstrate that Omarova is unfit for this job. The Democrats just don’t have the courage to buck a nominee who checks all their other boxes: woman, check; minority, check; immigrant, check; anti fossil fuels, check.
What Democrats have refused to acknowledge, to their peril in building confidence among the American people, is that a nominee for a major bank regulator post has to check a bunch of other boxes that are far more important to the average American – such as honesty, competency and a lack of skeletons in the closet.
If one were to score yesterday’s confirmation hearing as a baseball game, it was Republicans 15, Democrats 0. The Republican Senators simply read Omarova’s verbatim statements that she made in recent papers or video appearances and the Democrats had no ammunition to counter these damaging words other than to call it all a smear campaign.
Senator Pat Toomey, a Republican from Pennsylvania and Ranking Member of the Committee, said this as part of his opening remarks:
“Let’s talk about some of Professor Omarova’s radical ideas. For starters, she wants to effectively ‘end banking as we know it.’ What does that mean? Well, she’s told us. In ‘The People’s Ledger,’ a paper she published just last month, she outlined her plan for nationalizing retail banking. Under her plan, ‘central bank accounts fully replace—rather than uneasily co-exist with—private bank deposits.’ In other words, you couldn’t have an account with your local community bank. Your money would be held by the government at the Federal Reserve.
“Countless Americans were outraged over recent Democrat plans for the IRS to get their personal bank account information. Imagine their reaction to having the government actually take over their bank accounts.
“Professor Omarova also has a proposal to control the money supply through these individual FedAccounts, including when necessary ‘implementing a contractionary monetary policy by debiting’ those accounts. For those of us who are not accountants, debiting means subtracting.
“This, she allows, could be ‘perceived as the government taking away people’s money.’ I think I know why—because it is the government taking away people’s money.”
And so it went throughout the hearing. The Democrats were left to huff and puff over the alleged smear campaign while Republicans simply read Omarova’s preposterous writings or video statements back to her. For further background on what Omarova has proposed in articles published in legal journals, read our report: Biden’s Nominee Omarova Has a Published Plan to Move All Bank Deposits to the Fed and Let the New York Fed Short Stocks.