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The Wall Street-Captured Fed Consolidates Its Power Under Biden

Published: June 9, 2021
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Janet Yellen, the current U.S. Treasury Secretary, is also the Chair of the Financial Stability Oversight Council, which includes every Wall Street regulator. Before coming to the Treasury Department, Yellen was the Chair of the Federal Reserve and had spent the bulk of her working career at the Fed or the San Francisco Fed.

When Yellen was not reappointed as Fed Chair by Donald Trump when her Chairmanship term expired in 2018, she immediately cashed in her chips on Wall Street, collecting millions of dollars in speaking fees in 2019, and undisclosed millions more in 2018. (See Janet Yellen’s Cash Haul of $7 Million Is Just the Tip of the Iceberg; She Failed to Report Her Wall Street Speaking Fees from JPMorgan and Others in 2018.)

Yellen was a Federal Reserve Board Governor when she was appointed Fed Chair. Her term as a Governor didn’t expire until 2024. Yellen could have remained in that position. Instead, she opted for millions of dollars in quick cash from the very same mega banks that the Fed had been regulating during her tenure there. These were also the same banks that had blown up the U.S. financial system in 2008 and received a super-secret $29 trillion bailout from the Fed. The details of the Fed’s astronomical bailouts to the Wall Street mega banks were only made public after the Fed waged and lost a multi-year court battle to keep the size and recipients of its bailouts a secret.

The largest recipient of the Fed’s bailouts was Citigroup. It received a cumulative total of more than $2.5 trillion in below-market rate loans from the Fed from 2007 through at least the middle of 2010. After Yellen was nominated by President Biden to serve as U.S. Treasury Secretary, her financial disclosure report showed that she had spoken three times at Citigroup, on March 6, March 11, and March 12, 2019. She made $217,200 for each event, for a total of $651,600.

Oodles of cash were also flowing into Yellen’s bank account from Citadel, a giant hedge fund recently under scrutiny before the Senate Banking and House Financial Services Committees. Yellen’s financial disclosure report showed she had been paid $992,500 for speaking engagements at Citadel and had refunded it $50,000 to $100,000 for a cancelled event.

The most poignant analysis of Yellen’s cash haul from Wall Street came in a Tweet from Jesse Eisinger of the public interest publication, ProPublica. Eisinger wrote: “Deeply troubling two-fisted money grab from banks by Janet Yellen. This is corruption, but isn’t called that because it’s so quotidian.” Eisinger also noted: “Sure, Yellen might think she can make independent decisions once in office. But how arrogant is it to imagine that money corrupts everyone but you?”

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