Is Biden's Pick for Treasury Secretary Already in the Pocket of Wall Street? Look How She Made Millions in the Past 2 Years
The woman chosen by former Vice President Joe Biden to head the Treasury Department in a prospective Biden administration is drawing attention for racking up millions in speaker fees from the financial industry after leaving her position as the Federal Reserve Chair.
Janet Yellen has spoken at more than 50 in-person and virtual events since 2018, getting more than $7 million in speaker fees, The Wall Street Journal reported.
Although getting millions from speeches is common for current and former public officials, the audiences for these speeches are raising eyebrows.
According to Yellen’s financial disclosure forms, these organizations include massive financial institutions such as the investment banks Goldman Sachs and UBS, the hedge fund Citadel LLC and the City National Bank.
Other large companies, like Google and Salesforce, also paid for Yellen to speak, according to the forms.
Yellen currently serves as a consultant for the Australia-based Magellan Financial Group Ltd, and plans to resign if she is confirmed to the Treasury secretary post, The Wall Street Journal reported.
Under an ethics agreement between Yellen and the U.S. Office of Government Ethics, she would have to seek special authorization for one year after starting the Treasury job to engage in dealings with Magellan or firms that paid her speaking fees over the past year, according to The Journal.
Still, these engagements are raising concerns that Yellen would give more preference to Wall Street than Main Street. Of course, it’s not a crime to be rich, and there’s no shame in anyone taking money from audiences willing to pay to hear them speak.
But at a time when liberals seem as obsessed with “income inequality” as they are with mythical “systemic racism,” the image of a prospective Treasure secretary raking in millions over two years just for speaking to select groups from unimaginably wealthy corporations is not what Biden’s team and its Democratic supporters want the public to see.
To average Americans, it might look like Yellen is already in Wall Street’s pockets, but Team Biden wants to assure everyone that Yellen will be working “on behalf of the American people.”
“Janet Yellen is among the pre-eminent economic policymakers in the world today. Since leaving the Fed after several decades in public service, she has spoken at economic conferences, universities and to business groups and financial institutions about her experiences … Her experience and expertise are the reasons President-elect Biden wanted her on his team working for him and on behalf of the American people to help us build back better from this economic crisis,” a statement from a Biden spokesperson said, according to Fox Business.
Biden team defends Yellen making millions in speaking fees from big corporations https://t.co/Pp1YlyqEOW
— Fox News (@FoxNews) January 3, 2021
Oregon Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden, the ranking Democratic member on the Senate Finance Committee, tried to shrug off the Yellen speaking-fee issue.
“Secretary-designate Yellen is one of the world’s top economic minds, and her perspective on economic matters has been widely sought after since she left the Federal Reserve,” Wyden said, according to Reuters.
With the economy backsliding and workers and businesses struggling to stay afloat, the Senate has no excuse to wait to confirm Janet Yellen. Secretary Mnuchin’s nomination hearing was held before Donald Trump was inaugurated, and the same must be done for Yellen.
— Ron Wyden (@RonWyden) November 23, 2020
At 74 years old, Yellen is a conventional pick from the Biden team, given her decades serving in the public sector on economic matters.
Her friendliness with large corporations is most definitely a slap in the face to the progressive wing of the Democratic Party, which would have preferred someone like Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren as Treasury Secretary.
Could Elizabeth Warren Be the Next Treasury Secretary? https://t.co/LfPuUWIY6O
— The Nation (@thenation) November 9, 2020
Biden’s choice of Yellen only solidifies what many Americans already knew about a Biden administration: That it would perpetuate the Democratic establishment.
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