fresh voices from the front lines of change







In the December post, Enougher is Enougher: ANOTHER Citi Nominee, I wrote about the nomination of Marisa Lago to be deputy U.S. trade representative:

Ms. Lago was Global Head of Compliance for Citigroup’s corporate and investment bank from 2003 to 2008. She also headed the Office of International Affairs at the Securities and Exchange Commission from 1997 to 2001.

This matters. Another revolving-door Wall Street nominee to a key position.

For better or worse, this nomination of yet another Citigroup alumna to an important position in our government comes at a time when the public has grown suspicious of Wall Street’s influence on our government.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) talked about this problem in her address to Netroots Nation last month:


Here is what Warren said about people revolving from Citigroup to our government and back:

Let’s talk about just one example of those revolving doors—the gold-plated door with Citigroup’s name engraved in big letters. How fast has their revolving door spun?

● Three of the last four Treasury Secretaries under Democratic presidents have had loose Citigroup ties. The fourth was offered the CEO position at Citigroup, but turned it down.
● The Vice Chair of the Federal Reserve system is a Citigroup alum.
● The Undersecretary for International Affairs at Treasury is a Citigroup alum.
● The U.S. Trade Representative is a Citigroup alum
● The person nominated to be Deputy US Trade Rep – who is currently an assistant secretary at Treasury – is a Citigroup alum.
● A recent chairman of the National Economic Council at the White House is a Citigroup alum.
● A recent Chairman of the Office of Management and Budget went to Citigroup immediately after leaving the White House.
● Another recent Chairman of the Office of Management of Budget is also a Citi alum – but I’d be double counting here because now he’s the Secretary of the Treasury.

And those are just the most visible parts. The revolving door spins for all the deputies and assistants and special assistants too.

[...] Wall Street insiders have enough influence in Washington already without locking up one powerful job after another in the Executive Branch of our government. Sure, private sector experience can be valuable – no one ever said otherwise – but there is a point at which the revolving door compromises public interest. And we are way beyond that point.

We need a government that doesn’t work just for the rich and powerful—we need a government that works for the people!

Wednesday the Senate Finance Committee will hold an executive session to consider Lago's nomination. As I wrote in December, "Ms. Lago, your resume is impressive, your public service is to be commended. But it is very bad timing for another nomination of another Citigroup alumni."

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