OPINION: This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion
President Joe Biden’s already-controversial pic to lead an agency that oversees the nation’s banks despite a previous statement indicating she wants to “end banking as we know it” has now become mired in a new controversy: A prior arrest.
According to Fox News, Soviet-born Saule Omarova, whom Biden picked to lead the Treasury Department’s Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), was arrested in 1995 for “retail theft,” according to arrest records obtained by the network.
Fox News adds:
According to the background check, Omarova was arrested by Madison, Wisconsin, police officers on June 2, 1995 and charged with a misdemeanor count of “retail theft.”
The background check also lists Omarova as having a deferred prosecution in January 1996 for the charge, which was dropped through the Wisconsin first offender program.
The White House defended Omarova’s nomination in a statement to Fox News, saying the nominee has been “fully transparent” about the incident throughout her career.
White House officials went on to defend Omarova.
“To be clear, Saule has been fully transparent about this incident her entire career, including to the Senate, in applications, and when she worked at the Treasury Department during the Bush Administration,” said a spokesperson said.
“This case was ultimately dismissed in January 1996 – more than 25 years ago – and was the result of a misunderstanding and confusing situation,” the spokesperson continued.
“It’s sad that a far-right partisan group with a pattern of engaging in tawdry behavior would partner with Fox News to smear the name of a qualified nominee seeking to serve her country,” the spokesperson added.
“Saule Omarova is eminently qualified and was nominated for this role given her strong track record on regulation and strong academic credentials. The White House strongly supports this historic nomination,” the person noted further.
Fox News said that the White House failed to respond to questions about the “far-right partisan group” allegedly responsible for uncovering the information, “since Omarova’s arrest is public record in Wisconsin and therefore accessible by any member of the media or public.”
The network went on to report that a Senate staffer who is aware of the situation confirmed to Fox News that information regarding the charge was made available to the Senate Banking Committee. She has a hearing scheduled before the panel on Thursday.
The White House did not respond to Fox News’ inquiry as to which “far-right partisan group” the White House alluded to, since Omarova’s arrest is public record in Wisconsin and therefore accessible by any member of the media or public.
A Senate staffer familiar with the matter confirmed to Fox News that Omarova’s charge was disclosed to the Senate Banking Committee. Her hearing before the committee is scheduled for Thursday.
Again, this is just the latest controversy regarding Omarova. Previous reports noted that she has said she would like to see the oil and gas industry in the U.S. bankrupted, ostensibly to combat climate change.
Describing her as “the administration’s dubious pick for comptroller of the currency,” the Western Journal noted that she “is a radical by pretty much anyone’s definition.”
“Up for a job that would put her in charge of regulating the country’s largest banks, she published a paper earlier this year with a proposal to “end banking as we know it,” the outlet reported.
“Here what I’m thinking about is primarily coal industry and oil and gas industry. A lot of the smaller players in that industry are going to probably go bankrupt in short order, at least we want them to go bankrupt if we want to tackle climate change,” Omarova says in a video clip which was discovered by the American Accountability Foundation (AAF)