GOP Senate Banking Committee members, including U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis, R-N.C., sent a letter to President Biden on Thursday, March 3, with continued concerns of the president’s selection of Duke University Law Professor Sarah Bloom Raskin for Fed Reserve Board vice chair of supervision.
Raskin, a Duke professor since 2017, served in the Obama administration for seven years, first as a Fed governor and then as the deputy secretary of the Treasury. After leaving the Treasury, she joined the board of Reserve Trust, a non-bank FinTech company, in 2017, the same year it was denied access to a Fed master account by the Kansas City Fed.
Raskin called Kansas City Fed President Esther George on behalf of Reserve Trust a few months later, according to a press release on bankingsenate.gov. Raskin served with George on the Fed’s Open Market Committee. The Kansas City Fed reversed its decision and granted Reserve Trust a Fed master account in 2018.
In 2020, Raskin received nearly $1.5 million by selling her shares in Reserve Trust to QED investors, a firm co-managed by Amias Gerety, one of Raskin’s subordinates at the Treasury.
The senators say their opposition to Raskin was not due to her “radical public comments and beliefs about using federal financial supervisory powers to advance climate change policy. Rather, it was the continual evasion and lack of candor about her time on the board of Reserve Trust, a FinTech trust company, where Ms. Raskin was a director from 2017 to 2019.”
Raskin has either refused to answer or answered “I don’t know” to several questions on whether she contacted the Fed or Kansas City Fed about Reserve Trust. She also responded “I do not recall” or “I am not aware” in response to more than 35 questions for the record from U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pennsylvania, regarding her work for Reserve Trust, including what actions she took to help Reserve Trust obtain a Fed Master account and any communications between Ms. Raskin and the Kansas City Fed or the Fed regarding Reserve Trust’s application.
Raskin signed an ethics pledge while serving in the Obama administration to prevent “Revolving Door” lobbying. The senators noted the similar pledge of the Biden administration and how they share the same values of honesty and transparency in government when it comes to nominations of high-ranking officials.
“You rightly recognize the need to ensure “revolving door” influence peddlers are not nominated to senior government positions,” the letter stated. “However, without greater insight into Ms. Raskin’s past activities, we cannot, in good faith, support the advancement of her nomination process.”
Supporters of Raskin say she’s an expert in cyber security and her experience would be most needed right now with potential Russian cyberattacks.
The White House has not commented on the senators’ letter.