Biden’s Treasury nominee Yellen discloses paid speaking gigs for financial firms

Janet Yellen, U.S. President-elect Joe Biden's nominee to be treasury secretary, speaks as Biden announces nominees and appointees to serve on his economic policy team at his transition headquarters in Wilmington, Delaware, U.S.

President-elect Joe Biden’s pick for Treasury secretary, Janet Yellen, earned at least $7 million from speaking engagements over the past two years, according to disclosures posted on Thursday.

Yellen, the former Federal Reserve chair, disclosed the more than 50 speaking gigs, including to government-regulated Goldman Sachs Group Inc, Barclays Plc and hedge fund Citadel LLC, as part of a set of documents that move her candidacy closer to consideration by the U.S. Senate.

In another filing to the U.S. Office of Government Ethics, Yellen said she would seek written authorizations to participate in substantive issues involving such firms.

Yellen agreed to resign from her position as a consultant for Australian investment firm Magellan Financial Group Ltd if she is confirmed by the Senate. She also outlined several divestments in public company stock that she would implement if she is confirmed.

The Treasury Department has broad regulatory powers over financial companies. High-profile former government officials like Yellen, who was appointed as Fed chair by Democratic President Barack Obama and served in the role until 2018, often take paid speaking jobs after their retirement from public service.

President Donald Trump’s Treasury secretary, Steven Mnuchin, a former Goldman Sachs executive and Hollywood film financier, pledged to divest at least $94 million worth of investments in 43 entities to avoid conflicts of interest when he was appointed to Trump’s Cabinet. In his confirmation hearings, Mnuchin was attacked for failing to promptly disclose that he was a director of an offshore business vehicle domiciled in the Cayman Islands and owned more than $100 million in real estate.

Senator Ron Wyden, the senior Democrat on the committee that will evaluate Yellen, said she has shared views in a range of forums, from media interviews to speaking engagements, and has been fully transparent.

“Secretary-designate Yellen is one of the world’s top economic minds, and her perspective on economic matters has been widely sought after since she left the Federal Reserve,” Wyden said.

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