When Janet Yellin was nominated to become Joe Biden’s treasury secretary, she disclosed more than $7 million in speaking fees she collected in 2019 and 2020, mostly from banks, hedge funds, and trading houses.
However, she did not reveal the millions she took for speeches she made in 2018 after leaving the chair of the U.S. Federal Reserve, Pam Martens and Russ Martens reported on 13 August in Wall Street on Parade (WSP). (See “Janet Yellen’s Cash Haul of $7 Million Is Just the Tip of the Iceberg,” WSP, 6 January 2021.)
“Deeply troubling two-fisted money grab from banks by Janet Yellin,” senior ProPublica reporter Jesse Eisinger tweeted when the news broke in January. “This is corruption but it isn’t called that because it’s so [customary].”
“Yellin might think she can make independent decisions once in office,” Eisinger added, “but how arrogant is it to imagine that money corrupts everyone but you?”
Citing Eisinger’s comment, WSP posed a similar question: “How arrogant is it for Yellin to think she can black out phone calls and meetings on her daily appointment calendar as U.S. treasury secretary and not fall under suspicion?”
In her first 90 days in office, Yellin redacted 73 meetings and phone calls, according to WSP.
“There must be something particularly embarrassing about the people involved in at least some of these redacted meetings and calls,” WSP speculated, “because there are unredacted names on her appointment calendar that certainly raise eyebrows:”
- On 28 January, Yellin had a 30-minute phone chat with Bill Clinton, whose foundation has been plagued by tax questions for years; the treasury department oversees the U.S. Internal Revenue Service.
- On 11 February, Yellin spoke for 15 minutes with Bill and Melinda Gates, whose foundation holds tens of billions of dollars in securities but, since 2008, stopped filing required federal reports listing those securities. (See “Here’s the $47.6 Billion Stock Portfolio Bill Gates Will Keep to Himself after His Divorce from Melinda,” WSP, 4 May 2021.)
- On 2 March, Yellin logged a 15-minute phone call with Morgan Stanley CEO James Gorman, whose bank paid Yellin an undisclosed amount in speaking fees in 2018.
- On 11 March, Yellin spent 15 minutes on the phone with Larry Fink, CEO of private equity giant Blackrock, a firm that received a no-bid contract to manage $750 billion worth of federal bond-buying as part of the U.S. Federal Reserve’s 2020 economic rescue plan. The program allowed Blackrock to use federal money to buy its own exchange-traded funds.
- On 28 March, Yellin talked for a half-hour with Henry Paulson, a Goldman Sachs lifer who also served as George W. Bush’s treasury secretary when the Great Recession struck. Paulson helmed Goldman when the bank sold toxic investments to uninformed investors leading up to the recession. Paulson was a player in crafting the U.S. economy’s 2008 federal bailout, from which Goldman Sachs benefited handsomely.
Paulson, former treasury secretary Timothy Geithner, and Ben Bernanke, former Fed chair, have long advocated weakening provisions in the Dodd-Frank Act, which is designed to protect consumers from deceptive or rapacious financial practices.
“Yellin brought millions of dollars of Wall Street baggage to this Cabinet position,” WSP noted. “She bears close watching.”
TRENDPOST: We are very appreciative and value the work of Wall Street on Parade. What they continue to report—which no one in the field has matched in the depth and scope—is the corruption, lying, cheating and stealing from the Bankster Gangs in control of the government… that in turn, control the foundation of our financial lives.