Financial reform groups that back Sen. Elizabeth Warren are joining the Massachusetts senator’s rally against Obama’s nominee for the Treasury, reported Talking Points Memo. This nomination is part of the revolving door between Wall Street banksters and public officials.
In early November, President Barack Obama nominated Antonio Weiss for undersecretary for the U.S. Treasury. Progressive Democrat and financial reformist Elizabeth Warren was outraged at the nomination because of Weiss’ Wall Street banking past. Weiss’ firm, Lazard, was also instrumental in the international tax deal between Burger King and Canadian food chain Tim Horton’s. The deal allowed Burger King, an American company, to transfer its headquarters to Canada in order to dodge American corporate taxes.
“She really struck a nerve when she came out against the nomination of Antonio Weiss, an investment banker who is helping Burger King avoid its fair share of taxes, to an important Treasury Department post,” wrote Robert Cruickshank, senior campaign manager for Democracy for America.
Joining Warren is liberal group, the Progressive Change Campaign Committee (PCCC), which sent an email to its supporters discussing the mistake that is Weiss’ nomination. According to the email:
Antonio Weiss made millions by helping American companies like Burger King move their headquarters overseas to escape taxes. This cost us money that could be used to create jobs.
Even worse, his investment bank has said it will pay him over $20 million if he takes this job at the Treasury. What are they expecting in return?
Elizabeth Warren is courageously opposing the nomination, and a big grassroots campaign is mobilizing behind her.
Weiss’ nomination is an extension of the marrying between Wall Street and the United States government. Former bank executives frequently go into the public sector, specifically working in financial regulation. Financial institutions will often pay bonuses to former executives who work in government.
Weiss’ nomination is in poor judgement because it further perpetuates the close relationship between financial regulators and the banks they’re supposed to oversee. There’s nothing different about this kind of nomination, but just dirty business as usual.