Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts) took former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor to task on Wednesday for taking a new job from at investment bank Moelis. Cantor will ultimately earn $US3.4 million as part of the package for his new position.
Asked about Cantor’s move in an interview with Yahoo News’ Katie Couric, Warren sighed and sharply criticised the “revolving door” between former politicians and the powerful industries that employ them after they leave office.
“How wrong can this be?” she asked. “Basically what is happening here is that people work in Washington, and man, they hit that revolving door with a speed that would blind you.”
Cantor resigned from Congress in August after he lost his Republican primary election in a shocking upset. Moelis announced his hiring on Monday. Some, including former corporate lawyer Dennis Kelleher, criticised the hire as notable because of Cantor’s lack of relevant investment experience.
“Let’s look at Cantor’s résumé,” Kelleher told New York magazine. “Let’s look at all his investment-banking experience. Let’s look at his capital-markets experience. He has none. He has no experience or skills that would qualify him to be even an intern at a fifth-tier firm in the financial industry. I mean, come on!”
Warren agreed with this line of thinking in her interview, arguing people like Cantor are “selling access” — not their expertise.
“[They] head straight out into the industry not because they bring great expertise and insight but because they’re selling access back in to their former colleagues who are still writing policy,” she continued. “I just think this is fundamentally the wrong approach.”
Warren, who has become known for her criticism of Wall Street, said this phenomenon ultimately “infects” Washington politics.
“It worries me about what happens if people in government are looking for that next job: ‘Yeah I’m working now, not as much money as I could be making, but when I leave here, that’s where I’m headed.’ That ultimately infects whatever it is that they’re doing,” she said. “I think this is just wrong.”
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