Senator Elizabeth Warren fired an unmistakable warning shot to Hillary Clinton and her advisers on Wednesday, cautioning against appointing cabinet or administration members who are linked to Wall Street while name-checking a firm closely tied to Clinton and the Democratic Party.
Warren’s speech, delivered at the liberal Center for American Progress Action Fund, cast the upcoming presidential election in stark economic terms. She described the tax-slashing, deregulatory approach laid out by Donald Trump and contrasted it to a laundry list of populist economic policies embraced by Hillary Clinton. Clinton has faced criticism recently for focusing too heavily on Trump’s competency and not enough on fundamental economic issues, and so Warren’s speech was well-timed and well-received.
But towards the end of her remarks, Warren noted that “personnel is policy,” and continued:
When we talk about personnel, we don’t mean advisors who just pay lip service to Hillary’s bold agenda, coupled with a sigh, a knowing glance, and a twiddling of thumbs until it’s time for the next swing through the revolving door, serving government then going back to the very same industries they regulate. We don’t mean Citigroup or Morgan Stanley or BlackRock getting to choose who runs the economy in this country so they can capture our government. No.
Citigroup and Morgan Stanley are certainly household names, as two of the top four largest banks in the country. But BlackRock? It’s safe to say relatively few people have heard of the asset-management firm—unless they are in Hillary Clinton’s orbit.
BlackRock’s chief executive, Lawrence Fink, has been repeatedly mentioned as a possible Treasury secretary under Clinton. (“Fink is a natural choice for any Democrat,” one analyst told Fortune earlier this year.) Fink is a major Democratic donor, and has recently been speaking out against “short-termism” in the financial sector, directly echoing a key policy plank of Clinton’s.
BlackRock appointed Clinton’s former chief of staff at the State Department, Cheryl Mills, to its board in 2013, and as David Dayen noted at The Intercept in March, several top BlackRock officials have already been through the revolving door at the Treasury Department—Fink has effectively formed a Treasury-staff-in-waiting at his firm. At least one top BlackRock official, Michael Lyle, was advising the Clinton campaign on economic policy last year. Another senior director, Matthew Mallow, is a “Hillblazer,” meaning he raised $100,000 or more for the campaign.