U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) announced Sunday that he intends to join Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Ma.) in opposing the confirmation of Wall Street investment banker Antonio Weiss to be Undersecretary of Domestic Finance at the Treasury Department.
Last week President Obama nominated Weiss, head of global investment banking for the financial giant Lazard, to become the administration’s new Under Secretary for Domestic Finance. Weiss has spent the last 20 years of his career at Lazard — most of it advising on international mergers and acquisitions. Lazard helps clients avoid U.S. taxes by sheltering profits in other countries.
Sanders urged President Barack Obama to withdraw the nomination.
“The Wall Street crash of 2008, caused by the greed and illegal behavior of major financial institutions, created the worst recession in modern history. We need an economic team at the White House which will hold Wall Street accountable and fight for the needs of working families, not more Wall Street executives,” Sanders said. “The American people are disgusted with Wall Street bankers who find loopholes in the tax code to help profitable companies shelter profits in offshore tax havens in order to avoid paying their fair share of U.S. taxes. We need economists in government who have a history of helping to create jobs, not helping corporations avoid taxes.”
In the past, Sanders cited the same concerns about Wall Street influence in Washington when he voted no on confirming Obama nominees such as former Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, former Treasury Secretaries Timothy Geithner and Jack Lew and former Commodity Futures Trading Commission Chairman Gary Gensler. He also voted against Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker and U.S Trade Representatives Michael Froman and Ron Kirk.
Last week when announcing her oppostion to the Weiss nomination, Senator Warren wrote:
“Enough is enough…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. That’s yet another advantage that Wall Street just doesn’t need... It’s time for the Obama administration to loosen the hold that Wall Street banks have over economic policy making. Sure, big banks are important, but running this economy for American families is a lot more important.
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