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Tue Apr 29, 2014, 12:55 PM

Elizabeth Warren- The Citigroup Clique [View all]

Why is Obama appointing so many former employees of one Wall St. bank?

Today, I cast my vote on the Senate Banking Committee for Stanley Fischer to serve in the No. 2 position at the U.S. Federal Reserve. I asked Fischer tough questions – in person, at his nomination hearing, and in writing – and I have been impressed with the depth of his knowledge and experience.

But I cast my vote reluctantly because of my growing frustration over the concentration of people with ties to the megabank Citigroup in senior government positions.

In recent years, Wall Street institutions have exerted extraordinary influence in Washington’s corridors of power, but Citi has risen above the others in exercising a tight grip over the Democratic Party’s economic policymaking apparatus. Fischer, after all, is just the latest Citi alumnus to be tapped for a high-level government position. Starting with Robert Rubin – a former Citi CEO – three of the last four Treasury secretaries under Democratic presidents have had Citigroup affiliations before or after their Treasury service. (The fourth was offered, but declined, Citigroup’s CEO position.) Directors of the National Economic Council and Office of Management and Budget, as well as our current U.S. trade representative, also have had strong ties to Citigroup.

No one doubts that there are smart, hard-working people at Citigroup and elsewhere in the financial industry. When I worked to set up the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, I interviewed, hired and worked alongside many people with private-sector experience. Private-sector experience can be valuable and should not disqualify someone from serving in the upper levels of government.

Read more: http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2014/04/the-citigroup-clique-106125.html

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