President Joe Biden’s nomination of Sarah Bloom Raskin to serve as Federal Reserve vice chair for supervision represents a danger to American jobs and American energy. The Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs should reject her nomination when it is expected to come up for a vote on February 15.
There are a few traditional reasons for turning Raskin down, centered on her past statements that call into question whether she would properly execute her duties. But Raskin’s nomination raises even larger questions about America’s elite — how they enrich themselves, how they stay in power, and how they pursue policies that harm average Americans.
Raskin has repeatedly urged regulators to force banks to starve America’s domestic oil and gas industry of the funds they need to produce more energy. The Fed’s vice chair for supervision is supposed to conduct stress tests on banks, but the power invested in this position could allow Raskin to remake the banking industry in her own vision.
Raskin, formerly deputy secretary of the Treasury under President Obama, denied that she would use her perch on the Fed to do what she has called for regulators to do. But Raskin’s assurances ring hollow. Raskin’s credibility has been damaged in the wake of revelations that she and her congressman spouse, Maryland Democrat Jamie Raskin, delayed reporting a $1.5 million windfall she received for a couple of years’ service as a member of the board of a fintech startup.
Under the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act, the D.C. power couple had 45 days to report her payout. They took about 270. And the deal is as stinky as the swamp can get.
Reserve Trust, a nonbank fintech, needed a Fed Master Account to be able to move money to third-world nations without the aid of a bank. The Fed denied its initial application. Within a month of that denial, Raskin, freshly off her position as No. 2 at Treasury, was invited onto the board. Then she made a phone call to the Kansas City Fed and — voila! — Reserve Trust became the first fintech ever to get a Master Account. Raskin ended up getting 195,936 shares after her phone call, which she sold for $1.5 million in 2020 to an Obama-era Treasury Department colleague.
Reviewing Jamie Raskin’s financial disclosure forms show that community organizing, government jobs, and teaching at a college really paid off for the two Harvard Law graduates. Raskin’s 2020 disclosures revealed 68 separate investments worth as much as $6.2 million, with outside income of up to $1.55 million on top of Jamie Raskin’s congressional salary of $174,000.
The couple’s 2020 earnings, $1.7 million, are about 21 times their neighborhood of Takoma Park’s median household income of $84,591, itself 35 percent above the national average of $62,843, as many of its residents are richly rewarded for their work for the federal government. Jamie Raskin’s district has the 14th-highest household income of 435 House districts in the nation.
Deep Leftist Roots
The cultural root of the threat embodied by the Raskins to the American experiment in self-government can be seen in one of Jamie Raskin’s first jobs after graduating magna cum laude from Harvard Law School in 1987. From 1989 to 1990, he served as general counsel for Jesse Jackson’s National Rainbow Coalition. The Raskins married in 1990.
It’s easy to forget in today’s cancel culture and mandatory critical race theory struggle sessions what a revolutionary force Jackson’s Rainbow/PUSH Coalition came to be some 30 years ago. Many of the issues we contend with now were developed by Jackson.
Jackson was a key innovator in bringing and weaponizing racial discrimination lawsuits against big companies. Boeing, Texaco, Coca-Cola, and others would, as part of their settlements, include separate payments to set up diversity and sensitivity training for employees. Sound familiar?
Jackson’s Rainbow would often benefit too — that was the point. Rainbow would protest, and corporate leadership would simply pay to make them go away.
Fed as Tool of Left
Sarah Bloom Raskin’s proposals to forge financial institutions into tools of the left represent a continuum of the same tactics pioneered by her spouse.
The lawsuits pursued by Jamie Raskin and Jackson acted to slightly increase the cost of Coke, Boeing airliners, and Texaco fuels. The regulatory activism that Sarah Raskin advocates would do thousands of times more damage, reducing the supply of oil, gas, and coal and contributing directly to surging inflation, now at its highest point in 40 years.
Not to worry, of course. As the anti-energy policies pursued by left choke off domestic oil, gas, and coal production, they’ll be ready to do two things: spend federal money to retrain workers to perform their favored jobs, such as installing rooftop solar panels, and jack up energy subsidies for the poor, placing the burden of higher costs squarely on middle-class American families. In any case, our elite will ensure that they’ll be fine.