U.S. Senate Banking Committee Ranking Member Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) spoke on the floor of the U.S. Senate today to express concern over President Biden’s intent to nominate Saule Omarova as Comptroller of the Currency.
Senator Toomey released a letter to Ms. Omarova requesting a copy of her thesis, “Karl Marx’s Economic Analysis and the Theory of Revolution in The Capital,” to allow the Committee to fully assess her nomination. Ms. Omarova’s thesis, which she authored while studying at Moscow State University on the V.I. Lenin Personal Academic Scholarship, recently disappeared from her resume.
“Ms. Omarova has been celebrated on the far left for promoting ideas she herself has described as ‘radical.’ That’s a point we can agree on. These are very, very radical ideas. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a more radical choice for any regulatory spot in our federal government. I know that is a very sweeping statement to make. I think I can stand by it.”
“There’s a lot that’s extraordinary and radical here—but maybe the heart of it is that Ms. Omarova doesn’t just want tightened regulation of banks. What she wants to, and I quote—this is her words—‘effectively end banking as we know it.’ Those are words she wrote just last year.”
“She clearly has an aversion to anything like free market capitalism . . . in an October 2020 paper called ‘The People’s Ledger,’ she outlined a plan for ‘radically reshaping the basic architecture and dynamics of modern finance.’”
“She promoted the nationalization of an entire industry: retail banking . . . a clear socialist idea.”
“Ms. Omarova doesn’t just want to nationalize banking . . . she also wants the banking regulators to run the whole economy. Under her plan, laid out in a 2016 paper, the Federal Reserve would set prices in large sectors of the U.S. economy that she deems to be ‘systemically important prices,’ . . . ‘… widely used fuels, foodstuffs, and some other raw material’ and ‘wage or salary indices,’ among others. She’s openly advocated that the Federal government sets wages and prices throughout the economy. Is this not anything like a free enterprise economy? It’s unbelievable.”
“In addition, citing a desire to ‘sidestep debilitating political battles over the federal budget’ . . . that fundamentally democratic process that follows our Constitution, in a 2020 white paper Omarova proposed creating a National Investment Authority to channel both public and private capital to further policies that will be set by an unelected, unaccountable board. The American people don’t get too decide how their tax dollars get allocated by holding members of Congress accountable through elections. Instead, there would be some board that would make these decisions for us.”
“Where would a person even come up with these ideas? How does it even happen that it occurs to someone to think of these things? Maybe a contributing factor could be if a person grew up in the former Soviet Union and went to Moscow State University and attended on a V.I. Lenin academic scholarship.”
“In 2019, she tweeted, ‘say what you will about old USSR, there was no gender pay gap there. Market doesn’t always know best.’ She followed up with another tweet, ‘I never claimed women and men were treated absolutely equally in every facet of Soviet life. But people’s salaries were set (by the state) in a gender-blind manner. And all women got very generous maternity benefits. Both things are still a pipe dream in our society!’”
“Ms. Omarova clearly knows her views are far outside of the mainstream. How do we know? Well, why else would her most recent CV have been scrubbed of one particular item that was on her resume as recently as 2017? That item is the thesis she wrote as a student at Moscow on a V.I. Lenin Personal Academic Scholarship. The title was ‘Karl Marx’s Economic Analysis and the Theory of Revolution in The Capital.’”
“This morning, I released a letter that I sent to Ms. Omarova requesting she provide a copy of this paper in the original Russian to the Committee in time for us to translate it so that we can fully consider her nomination. Like most committees, the Banking Committee requires nominees provide copies of any articles or papers they’ve written. That is a very important tool we use to evaluate a person’s thoughts, fitness, temperament, judgment. I’m looking forward to receiving that paper.”
“In a country as big as ours where we have 330 some million people, I have no doubt that there are some individuals that we could find here and there who would think of the Soviet Union—that brutal, oppressive, totalitarian, freedom-suppressing, soul-sucking, murderous regime that was the Soviet Union—there must be some people somewhere in America that somehow would compare it favorably to the United States, as shocking as that is. What never occurred to me is that a person who thinks that way could possibly be considered for an important, powerful, and prominent position in the Federal government.”