Sen. Elizabeth Warren is not pleased that President Obama, once again, has called on a longtime Wall Street insider—especially one who has played a prominent role in controversial corporate “inversion” deals that allow U.S. companies to shed their nationality in the wake mergers—to take a powerful post at the Treasury Department.
“The over-representation of Wall Street banks in senior government positions sends a bad message. It tells people that one — and only one — point of view will dominate economic policymaking. It tells people that whatever goes wrong in this economy, the Wall Street banks will be protected first. “ —Sen. Elizabeth WarrenWarren’s ire was raised by Obama’s nomination last week of Antonio Weiss, head of global investment banking for the financial giant Lazard, to become Under Secretary for Domestic Finance in his adminstration and the senator from Massachusetts said almost immediately that she would oppose the nomination. On Wednesday night, however, Warren made her disappointment—and not a little outrage—known in a piece published on the Huffington Post, saying that though she’s tried to “give deference” to the president over his choices for the economic team this latest choice goes too far. “Enough is enough,” she wrote.
Initiating her critique of Weiss on two major issues, Warren explained what makes his choice by Obama so troubling:
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Obama has been criticized throughout his presidency for relying on and appointing to powerful positions many of the same Wall Street and financial services veterans who pushed for the deregulation of the industry that helped spawn the 2008 financial crisis.
Earlier this week, the Independent Community Bankers of America, a trade group that represents local and regional banks, also came out against the nomination of Weiss. In a letter sent to members of the Senate Finance and Banking committees, president of the ICBA Camden Fines told lawmakers his group also had concerns with the nominee’s history when it came to corporate mergers and the inversion tax deals. “While Mr. Weiss has impressive credentials as a top Wall Street executive specializing in international mergers and acquisitions,” wrote Fines, “Wall Street is already well represented at Treasury, and the narrow focus of Mr. Weiss’s professional experience is a serious concern for ICBA and community banks nationwide.”
According to reporting by the Wall Street Journal, Weiss has advised many of the world’s largest and most powerful Fortune 500 companies, “including Google Inc., Honeywell International Inc., ITT Corp., Coca-Cola Co. and Kraft Foods Group Inc., on a range of topics such as strategy, financing and capital structure decisions.”
As Warren concludes in her missive against Weiss:
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