The Lenin Scholar is slated for a confirmation hearing ThursdaySaule Omarova in 2018 / Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Chuck Ross • November 17, 2021 9:30 pm
President Joe Biden's nominee to regulate banks stole hundreds of dollars of merchandise from a discount retail store, according to a police report revealed Wednesday.
Saule Omarova, whom Biden tapped to serve as Comptroller of the Currency, was arrested after she was caught stuffing $214 worth of clothes, shoes, cologne, and belts in her purse at a T.J. Maxx in Madison, Wis., in May 1995. Omarova was 28 years old at the time and studying for her doctorate at the University of Wisconsin.
Omarova is slated to appear before the Senate Banking Committee for her confirmation hearing Thursday. If confirmed, Omarova will oversee regulation of the country's banking system. The police report, published by the American Accountability Foundation, could get her into further hot water with Senate Republicans who say she supports radical economic policies.
Sen. Pat Toomey (R., Pa.), the ranking member of the Senate Banking Committee, has pressed Omarova to turn over a copy of a thesis she wrote on Karl Marx while studying at Moscow State University in the late 1980s. Omarova, who attended the school on a Lenin scholarship, scrubbed her résumé of a reference to the Marx thesis at some point over the last few years.
Omarova, a professor at the Cornell Law School, has said she wants to "end banking as we know it" by requiring bank deposits to be held with the Federal Reserve, rather than private banks. Omarova has also proposed the creation of a federal agency, the National Investment Authority, that would fulfill the goals of the Green New Deal by investing in infrastructure projects. Omarova said one goal of the National Investment Authority would be for oil and gas companies to go "bankrupt" in order to fight climate change.
Omarova will likely need unanimous Democratic support in order to be confirmed, but some moderates have expressed concern about her views. Sen. Jon Tester (D., Mont.), a member of the Senate Banking Committee, said he has not decided whether he will vote to confirm Omarova. Sens. Joe Manchin (D., W.Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D., Ariz.) are reportedly on the fence about her nomination.
The White House downplayed the theft allegations against Omarova in a statement to Fox News prior to the release of the police report. A White House spokesperson said Omarova has been "fully transparent" about the incident by disclosing it to the Senate Banking Committee, and that her arrest was the result "of a misunderstanding and confusing situation."
The police report contradicts that claim. According to the report, Omarova "admitted to have stolen the items," which consisted of four pairs of shoes, two bottles of cologne, two belts, and a pair of socks.
Omarova did not respond to a request for comment.