Biden’s pick to lead Treasury made over $7M in speaking fees

REHOBOTH BEACH, Del. (AP): President-elect Joe Biden’s choice to be treasury secretary, Janet Yellen, collected more than $7 million in speaking fees in 2019 and 2020 from major financial firms and tech giants including Citi, Goldman Sachs and Google, according to disclosure forms filed as part of her nomination.

Yellen’s was one of three financial disclosures filed by Biden transition officials that were made public on Thursday by the Office of Government Ethics. In a separate filing, Yellen listed firms and banks where she had received speaking fees and said she intended to “seek written authorization” from ethics officials to “participate personally and substantially” in matters involving them.

Yellen was the Federal Reserve chair from 2014 to 2018. Her term was not renewed by President Donald Trump.

Her selection by Biden to lead the Treasury Department has been cheered by progressive Democrats, who support Yellen’s work as a labor economist who has long prioritized combating economic inequality. Since her nomination was announced, Yellen has pledged to work to combat systemic racism and climate change.

But receiving steep payments from Wall Street bankers and other powerful corporations could become an issue as her nomination works its way through a closely divided and potentially contentious Senate. Hillary Clinton faced criticism from the left wing of the Democratic Party while running for president in 2016 for having received past, lucrative speaking fees at Wall Street firms.

Also released Thursday were disclosure forms from Biden’s choice to be secretary of state, Antony Blinken, who detailed advising clients including Bank of America and Facebook as part of a consulting firm he co-founded. Avril Haines, Biden’s choice to be national intelligence director, disclosed being a consultant at the same firm, WestExec Advisors.