President Joe Biden’s nominee to be Comptroller of the Currency, Saule Omarova, has disqualified herself from confirmation because of her self-described radical views on banks and the financial system. In addition, this nominee’s hostility to cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin, will pit the federal government against the continued existence in the United States of non-government-created digital currencies.
This week, Omarova was questioned at a Senate Banking Committee nomination hearing. The nominee failed to make a case for senators to vote to confirm her. Democrats who vote for this nominee are likely to lose public support if she is confirmed because there will be dire economic consequences for many Americans if she is allowed to serve.
The Constitution puts the power to “advise and consent” to nominations in the U.S. Senate. Although senators like to say that they are not responsible for the president’s nominees and merely serve as a rubber stamp for nominations, the Constitution speaks to the idea that every nominee is consented to by senators if they vote for that nominee and that nominee is confirmed. If she is confirmed by the Senate then implements a radical anti-bank and anti-cryptocurrency agenda that destroys America’s private banking system while disrupting digital currencies like Bitcoin, senators who voted for the nominee should be held accountable at the ballot box.
This nominee is dangerous because the position she will occupy has great control over the banking system. Omarova has been nominated by President Joe Biden to serve as Comptroller of the Currency that, according to the Department of Treasury, “charters, regulates, and supervises all national banks and federal savings associations as well as federal branches and agencies of foreign banks.” As Senator Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) argued before the Senate Banking Committee on November 18, 2021, at Omarova’s confirmation hearing that her ideas on regulating the banks amounts to a “socialist manifesto for American financial services.” Toomey believes she will attempt to nationalize the banking system, impose price-fixing and create a command-and-control economy where the government controls resources. This nominee espouses socialist thought.
It is ironic because Saule Omarova is an American success story. She came to the United States with a few dollars in her pocket and was a member of a family oppressed by the old Soviet regime. In 2005 she became an American citizen and rose to become a professor of law at Cornell Law School. There is no doubt that her rise to power is a testament to her intelligence and hard work. For some reason, she has been attracted to a philosophy that is destructive to free markets rooted in government seizing more control of the private banking industry and financial institutions.
Many Republicans seemed confused about her views because her ideology of government control of the banks and disdain for the private sector resembled that old, tired Marxist view of the economy that drove the Soviet Union into the ground and led her to flee the country. She declared at her hearing, “I am not a communist” when questioned about her years in the Soviet Union. She had to declare this because her economic philosophy is consistent with support for a giant government controlling economic activity much like the failed Soviet Union model. It may be truer that Omarova is more in line with a European socialist and the socialists in Congress like Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) than communism.
Her views on cryptocurrency are objectionable and reason enough for Senators to oppose this nominee. When Sen. Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.) asked her about why she had denounced the existence of cryptocurrencies, Omarova claimed it was because they might come under centralized control. The nominee showed her ignorance of the core of why cryptocurrencies are doing so well. Omarova said, as reported by Mediate, that “a large company, like a big tech company, might control all of the infrastructure through which the money that every American, every American family, every American business uses in their daily life.” The opposite is true today. The most prominent and widely used cryptocurrency, Bitcoin, is defined as a decentralized store of value and digital currency that can be used for transactions. Her description of a wholly controlled currency that can be manipulated by a central authority is the U.S dollar, not Bitcoin.
Omarova is an academic who is the most dangerous type of nominee. She has written and spoken extensively about her radical views on banking and cryptocurrency. Senators know what she stands for. If they vote for her, voters should not let them make believe that they had reservations when they were the ones who consented to Saule Omarova to become Biden’s Comptroller of the Currency.