by Pam Martens and Russ Martens at Wall Street on Parade
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:…Continue Reading