White House stands by nominee Saule Omarova, who was arrested in 1995 for 'retail theft'

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President Biden’s nominee to lead a branch of the Treasury Department was arrested in 1995 for “retail theft.”

Fox News obtained a Wisconsin Department of Justice criminal background check of Saule Omarova, the president’s nominee to lead the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC).

According to the background check, Omarova was arrested by Madison, Wisconsin, police officers on June 2, 1995 and charged with a misdemeanor count of “retail theft.”

President Joe Biden delivers remarks on the debt ceiling during an event in the State Dining Room of the White House, Monday, Oct. 4, 2021, in Washington. 
(AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

The background check also lists Omarova as having a deferred prosecution in January 1996 for the charge, which were dropped through the Wisconsin first offender program.

The White House defended Omarova’s nomination in a statement to Fox News, saying the nominee has been “fully transparent” about the incident throughout her career.

“To be clear, Saule has been fully transparent about this incident her entire career, including to the Senate, in applications, and when she worked at the Treasury Department during the Bush Administration,” the spokesperson said. “This case was ultimately dismissed in January 1996 – more than 25 years ago – and was the result of a misunderstanding and confusing situation.”

“It’s sad that a far-right partisan group with a pattern of engaging in tawdry behavior would partner with Fox News to smear the name of a qualified nominee seeking to serve her country,” the spokesperson continued. “Saule Omarova is eminently qualified and was nominated for this role given her strong track record on regulation and strong academic credentials. The White House strongly supports this historic nomination.”


The White House did not respond to Fox News’ inquiry as to which “far-right partisan group” the White House alluded to, since Omarova’s arrest is public record in Wisconsin and therefore accessible by any member of the media or public.

A Senate staffer familiar with the matter confirmed to Fox News that Omarova’s charge was disclosed to the Senate Banking Committee. Her hearing before the committee is scheduled for Thursday.

Senate Banking Committee Republicans are pushing back vigorously against Biden’s latest controversial nominee, highlighting Omarova’s history writing about socialism.

Sen. Bill Hagerty, R-Tenn., a member of the Senate Banking Committee, told Fox News in a statement that the senator has “many concerns” about Omarova’s nomination.

“President Biden’s choice for banking regulator is a Marxist academic who wants to destroy the American banking and energy sectors and implement socialism in the United States, proving once again that this White House is beholden to the radical left elements of the Democrat party,” said Hagerty.

A spokesperson for Senate Banking Committee Chairman Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, told Fox News that Omarova has “been the subject of a relentless smear campaign” over the charges.

“Since this historic and eminently qualified nominee was put forth by President Biden, she has been the subject of a relentless smear campaign,” the spokesperson said. “The incident took place several decades ago, and the case against Ms. Omarova was dismissed.”

Biden announced in September that he would nominate Omarova to lead the Treasury Department agency that supervises all national banks and thrift institutions across the country.

President Joe Biden, with first lady Jill Biden, speaks during a visit at Brookland Middle School in northeast Washington, on Sept. 10. Biden has encouraged every school district to promote vaccines, including with on-site clinics.

Omarova is a Cornell Law School professor who has a history in private law practice and who worked in the Treasury Department under former President George W. Bush.

In addition to writing about Marxism, she has called the banking industry she would regulate in her potential new job the “quintessential a—— industry,” and calling for an end to banking “as we know it,” by “the complete migration of demand deposit accounts to the Federal Reserve.” Demand deposit accounts are the standard checking and savings accounts most Americans have with private banks. 

She also said in a recently resurfaced video that she supports the idea of energy industries going “bankrupt” to combat climate change.

Biden has nominated other controversial nominees, such as Bureau of Land Management director Tracy Stone-Manning, who was confirmed to her post by the Senate in the face of revelations of her connection to a 1989 eco-terrorism plot.

Fox News’ Tyler Olson and Audrey Conklin contributed to this report.

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