US President Joe Biden’s choice to be the next US Comptroller of the Currency, the country’s main banking regulator, has been accused of being a Communist, telling lawmakers you can’t choose where you were born.
In a hearing Thursday, Dr Saule Omarova, Biden’s candidate for chief of the office of the Comptroller of the Currency, received a grill from Republicans, who accused the Kazakh-born lawyer of being a Communist.
Three decades after the fall of the Iron Curtain, the ‘red fear’ playbook has been dusted off by Republican senators, resulting in a series of questions that 1950s Communist-chasing Senator Joseph McCarthy is said to have been proud.
“I don’t want to be disrespectful: I don’t know if I should call you teacher or classmate” said Senator John Kennedy of Louisiana, a member of the Senate Banking Committee, after asking Omarova if she was still a member of communist groups.
As those present let out a collective sigh, Omarova replied: “Senator, I am not a communist. I do not subscribe to this ideology. I couldn’t choose where I was born. She continued to state that she did not subscribe to a communist ideology and refuted claims that she was part of a socialist Facebook group.
“There is no record of my actual participation in Marxist or Communist discussions of any kind. “ she said, adding that her family suffered greatly during the days of the Soviet Union.
Omarova was also forced to explain why she had been a member of “a group called the Young Communists.She explained that her membership in the Komsomol youth organization was imposed by the state when she was a child.
“Were you a member of this organization? “ Kennedy repeated.
“Senator, I was born and raised in the Soviet Union… everyone was a member… it was part of normal progress in school. “ Omarova said.
Senator Pat Toomey, who previously requested a copy of Omarova’s graduation paper that she wrote about Karl Marx while a student at Moscow State University, claimed that the “The ideas amount to a socialist manifesto for American financial services”. He also referred to a number of academic papers to which Omarova contributed.
Democratic committee chairman Sherrod Brown of Ohio rejected Republican attempts to “Transforming a qualified woman into a Marxist bogeyman”, accusing them of rejuvenating McCarthyism – the Cold War-era practice of making claims based on adherence to Communist ideals.
Omarova, 55, could become the first woman and person of color to take on the role of Comptroller of the Currency in its 158-year history. She was nominated in September.
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