Haven’t we learned anything about properly vetting people for the highest offices in the U.S. government?
By Pam Martens and Russ Martens of Wall Street on Parade.
Former Fed Chair and Treasury Secretary nominee Janet Yellen has failed to report the details of millions of dollars in fees that she earned in 2018, the year she stepped down as Fed Chair, as she went on a whirlwind of speaking engagements in foreign cities around the world. Yellen’s “leadership” role with the Bloomberg New Economy Forums which had the “active participation and support” of an organization openly tied to the Chinese Communist Party, raises further serious red flags. And yet, Yellen sailed through her Senate Finance Committee confirmation hearing this past week, gaining a favorable vote of 26-0. A full Senate vote to confirm Yellen as Treasury Secretary is expected to occur tomorrow.
What Yellen did disclose on her Office of Government Ethics financial disclosure form showed that in 2019 and 2020 she made a cash haul of more than $7 million in speaking fees, the majority of which came from Wall Street trading houses, mega banks and hedge funds. Yellen stepped down as Chair of the Fed on February 3, 2018. Over the next 10 months, in addition to her foreign gigs, Yellen also appeared at numerous stateside paid engagements for Wall Street firms like JPMorgan Chase, Morgan Stanley, and Jefferies. She has failed to make public the transcripts of her speeches at these events or the specific amounts she was paid.
After the news broke of Yellen’s $7 million haul, Senior Reporter Jesse Eisinger of ProPublica Tweeted: “Deeply troubling two-fisted money grab from banks by Janet Yellen. This is corruption, but isn’t called that because it’s so quotidian.” Eisinger also noted: “Sure, Yellen might think she can make independent decisions once in office. But how arrogant is it to imagine that money corrupts everyone but you?”
Many of the banks Yellen accepted cash windfalls from were regulated by the Fed prior to her departure. These banks are also recidivist lawbreakers. JPMorgan Chase has been charged with, and admitted to, five criminal felony counts brought by the U.S. Department of Justice while it was being supervised by the Fed. The public deserves to know how much Yellen received from JPMorgan Chase in the year after she left the Fed. Citigroup, a smaller bank than JPMorgan Chase, paid Yellen over $990,000 in 2019 and 2020, according to her financial disclosure form. Citigroup received the largest Fed bailout in global banking history following the Wall Street crash of 2008.
We have learned that Yellen didn’t even come clean with the abbreviated information she did provide to the Office of Government Ethics. For example, Yellen was a speaker at the Bloomberg New Economy Forum in Singapore in 2018; appeared virtually at the event in 2020; and was a member of its Advisory Board. The Office of Government Ethics asks nominees to list “Employment Agreements and Arrangements.” There is no mention of her role on the Advisory Board of the Bloomberg New Economy Forum or any speaking fees she may have collected to speak at its 2018 and 2020 events. (Considering that Yellen charged the Texas Christian University $135,000 to speak in March of 2019, it seems highly unlikely Yellen would travel 9600 miles to Singapore for a billionaire’s event on a pro bono basis.)…