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Pat Toomey, a Republican member of the U.S. Senate Banking Committee, is attempting to pressure the nominee to head the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) into handing over her 1989 university honors thesis about Karl Marx.
The Biden administration formally nominated Kazakh-born attorney Saule Omarova — who has been characterized by critics as both anti-bank and anti-crypto — to head the financial regulator on Sept. 29. In vague echoes of McCarthyism, Toomey believes the thesis may show that Omarova has sympathies toward Marxist views.
While Omarova has lived in the US since 1991 and previously served as an advisor to George W. Bush, she previously attended Moscow State University during 1988 and 1989 on The Lenin Personal Academic Scholarship.
In an open letter to Omarova published on Oct. 5, Toomey claimed that she had deleted reference to her thesis “Karl Marx’s Economic Analysis and the Theory of Revolution in The Capital” from her current resume with Cornell Law School, adding that the paper was featured on her resume in April 2017.
The archived resume indicates that the paper was written as part of Omarova’s diploma with honors in philosophy. Toomey states he is requesting the document so that the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs can “fully assess the fitness of individuals to serve in Senate-confirmed executive and independent agency positions.”
He said committee staff had first requested the document from Omarova in September but, “we have not received any assurances that the Committee would receive a copy of the paper in a timely fashion.”
The Biden administration has received criticism over Omarova’s nomination, with detractors pointing to her 2020 statements cheering for lawmakers to “effectively end banking as we know it.” Omarova has also characterized cryptocurrency as a symptom of the existing “dysfunctional financial system.”
However, Democrats have praised Biden’s pick for the nomination, with Senator Elizabeth Warren describing Omarova as “an excellent choice to oversee and regulate the activities of our nation's largest banks.”
Speaking to the committee on Oct. 5, Toomey described Omarova as an extreme “radical” whose recent policy prescriptions have included state-directed pricing for wages and good, nationalizing the retail banking industry, and an overall “aversion to anything like free market capitalism.” He continued:
“In 2019, she tweeted, ‘say what you will about the old USSR, there was no gender pay gap there. Market doesn’t always know best […] Ms. Omarova clearly knows her views are far outside of the mainstream.”
Senator Ted Cruz also took aim at Omarova of the potential threat she may pose to crypto, tweeting: “Not only is Saule Omarova, Biden’s pick to lead the OCC, a threat to our traditional economy, she also wants to regulate crypto into oblivion. Crypto faces future-defining government regulations. This nomination needs to be stopped.”