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Both Maryland Rep. Jamie Raskin, a Democrat who’s awfully proud of his “work” on the Jan. 6th committee, and his wife, a prominent figure who’s been nominated to the Federal Reserve, have some explaining to do.
Raskin violated the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act’s disclosure provisions “by failing to properly disclose stock shares his wife received for advising a Colorado-based financial technology trust company,” as reported by Insider.
And then when his wife sold her shares in the company, Reserve Trust, for $1.5 million, he waited eight months before mentioning it. Raskin has attributed this late disclosure to the the death of his son, Tommy, who sadly committed suicide in late 2020.
And indeed, the disclosure form shows that the transaction occurred on Dec. 18th, 2020, whereas he didn’t report it til Aug. 13th, 2021:
However, it remains unclear when his wife obtained the shares and why he didn’t disclosure the purchase.
“Jamie Raskin didn’t report the Reserve Trust holdings to the Clerk of the House in his annual reports representing 2017 to 2019, the years his wife served on the board,” Insider notes.
“Because the STOCK Act says that such assets from a member of Congress or a spouse have to be disclosed annually, Jamie Raskin should have reported them every year until their liquidation in 2020. The asset only appears on the 2020 report, which he submitted months after his wife cashed out the stock.”
Making matters worse, Raskin now refuses to talk.
“It’s not clear when [his wife] first acquired Reserve Trust shares. Jamie Raskin’s office wouldn’t say, and the White House only confirmed that Reserve Trust gave her the shares as compensation for her work with the company,” according to Insider.
All of this is of particular importance because his wife is not an everyday American — she’s Sarah Bloom Raskin, a former U.S. Deputy Treasury Secretary and Federal Reserve Board of Governors member who was nominated last month by President Joe Biden to serve as Vice Chair for Supervision at the Federal Reserve.
An anonymous Republican who spoke with Insider said that after Bloom departed her post as Deputy Treasury Secretary in 2017, she joined Reserve Trust’s advisory board.
A year later, “the Fed granted Reserve Trust unusual access to its master account — an enviable get that allows the fintech company to move money for customers without relying on banks,” according to Insider.
During Bloom’s confirmation hearing Thursday, Wyoming Sen. Cynthia Lummis, a Republican, raised serious concerns about this “get.”
“Reserve Trust had its master account application denied in June 2017, but one year later, the Fed granted it a master account. How did Reserve Trust get theirs so quickly? After Reserve Trust had their application denied, did you communicate with the Federal Reserve about Reserve Trust’s application?” she said to Bloom.
“If you are suggesting anything improper, I want to make very clear that I have first of all had the honor to serve in various public capacities, and each time I left, I have been very mindful of the rules regarding departure,” Bloom responded.
But Lummis remained unconvinced: “Something doesn’t smell right with the way this played out,” she said.
And indeed, following the hearing she released a statement contrasting the treatment received by Reserve Trust to the treatment received by everybody else.
“Two Wyoming-chartered banks have been trying to obtain Fed master accounts for over a year. A master account is critical for banks to be able to access our Federal payment system. But both remain in limbo, though progress is being made,” she said.
“Yet somehow Reserve Trust – a company that had been denied this same access, doesn’t have a Federal regulator and isn’t even a bank – was granted it after Sarah Bloom Raskin joined its board. This seems suspiciously convenient.”
Pennsylvania Sen. Pat Toomey, also a Republican, meanwhile posted a tweet Thursday slamming Bloom for her “revolving door” behavior:
Or will Democrats turn a blind eye to her return to ‘Wall Street’s shadow regulator’ Promontory or obscure fintech Reserve Trust? https://t.co/vGr0335VKJ
— Senator Pat Toomey (@SenToomey) February 1, 2022
It was a reference to the way Bloom has been jumping from the public sector to the private and back again. Democrats are supposed to be against such behavior.
The American Accountability Foundation, a non-profit group that conducts “government oversight,” has also taken note of Bloom’s “revolving door” behavior.
“Sarah Bloom Raskin’s behavior here is the worst type of revolving door crony capitalism. She took her connections and influence at the Federal Reserve and parlayed it into a $1.5 million payout. Adding insult to injury, she and her husband hid the deal from the public in violation of congressional ethics disclosure rules,” the group’s founder, Tom Jones, told Insider.
The irony is that her husband has been among the loudest supporters of the U.S. House’s investigation into the Jan. 6th riot at the U.S. Capitol. Yet judging by the details surrounding his and his wife’s finances, it appears they may soon be under investigation themselves …
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