A look at Saule Omarova, Biden's controversial nominee for bank regulator

Sen. Toomey: Saule Omarova’s nomination must be derailed

Budget Committee member reacts to the president’s choice for bank regulator on ‘Kudlow’

President Biden is refusing to back away from his controversial nominee to run the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, (OCC) despite bipartisan concerns.

Saule Omarova, a Cornell University law professor, has raised eyebrows for comments she has made, which include saying the banking industry is the "quintessential a—— industry," as well as calling for an end to banking "as we know it" by "the complete migration of demand deposit accounts to the Federal Reserve."

Omarova made headlines again this week when footage reemerged in which she seemed to support energy industries going "bankrupt" for the sake of tackling climate change.

"Saule Omarova is eminently qualified and was nominated for this role because of her lifetime of work on financial regulation, including in the private sector, in government and as a leading academic in the field. The White House continues to strongly support her historic nomination," the White House said in a statement to FOX Business this week.

If she is confirmed, Omarova will head a branch of the Treasury Department that polices more than 1,000 banks.

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Omarova was born in 1966 in the Kazakh Soviet Socialist Republic, which was part of the Soviet Union. She told MSNBC host Chris Hayes during an interview in October that she grew up "in a small, tiny Kazak provincial town on the outskirts of the Soviet Empire."

Omarova excelled as a student, going on to study philosophy at Moscow State University in 1989, where she won a V.I. Lenin Scholarship for academic excellence.

Ms. Saule T. Omarova, Professor of Law and Director, Jack Clarke Program on the Law and Regulation of Financial Institutions and Markets, Cornell University. Fintech: Examining Digitization, Data, and Technology September 18, 2018  (Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs)

While she was studying in Madison, Wisconsin, on a university exchange program in 1991, the Soviet Union collapsed. She stayed in Wisconsin and went on to earn a Ph.D. in political science, after which she pursued a career in law and academia.

Omarova's thesis has drawn the attention of U.S. Senate Banking Committee Ranking Member Pat Toomey, R-Pa., whose committee will decide if her nomination advances to a full Senate vote.

Toomey, who said he has never seen a more "radical" regulatory nominee, requested a copy of Omarova's thesis, noting how it recently disappeared from her resume. It was titled, "Karl Marx’s Economic Analysis And The Theory Of Revolution In Das Kapital."

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Radio Free Europe says academics who hoped to excel in the Soviet Union were expected to laud the "virtues" of Marxism.

Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., questions Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin during a Congressional Oversight Commission hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday Dec. 10, 2020. (Sarah Silbiger/The Washington Post via AP, Pool) (AP Newsroom)

"While it appears that you have deleted any reference to your thesis in the version of your curriculum vitae (CV) that is currently available on the Cornell Law School website, the paper appeared on your CV as recently as April 2017," Toomey wrote.

Omarova's nomination faces particular jeopardy from Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., who also sits on the Senate Banking Committee.

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Tester expressed to FOX Business on Tuesday his hesitancy regarding whether Omarova is the right person for the job.

"Some of Ms. Omarova’s past statements about the role of government in the financial system raise real concerns about her ability to impartially serve at the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, and I’m looking forward to meeting with her to discuss them," Tester said.

Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., attends a Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee oversight hearing on the Securities and Exchange Commission on Capitol Hill in Washington, Sept. 14, 2021. REUTERS/Evelyn Hockstein/Pool (Reuters Photos)

In a Senate split 50-50, one reluctant Democrat could sink the nomination.

Omarova has denied harboring communist sympathies, pointing out to the Financial Times that her grandmother's family died when Stalin exiled them to Siberia.

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Omarova claims opposition to her nomination on racism and sexism, describing herself as "an easy target."

Fox News' Tyler Olson contributed to this report.

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