PHOENIX – Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren on Friday pressed the 2016 presidential contenders to curb the influence of Wall Street banks, as she seeks to leave her imprint on the agenda of Hillary Rodham Clinton and rest of the Democratic field.
Warren said in a keynote address to the annual Netroots Nation convention that the next president needs to halt the revolving door between those working in finance and at the government agencies that regulate Wall Street. Anyone seeking the White House, she said, should promise to appoint people who will “hold giant banks accountable.”
“I think that anyone running for that job, anyone who wants the power … should say loud and clear: ‘We don’t run this country for Wall Street and mega-corporations. We run it for the people,'” Warren said.
For Warren, who rebuffed draft efforts by liberals who wanted her to seek the Democratic nomination, it was the latest example of her attempt to shape the policy positions espoused by the Democratic contenders. She remains a hero among many progressives who admire her brand of economic populism and she received a rousing reception from the 3,000 activists at Netroots.
During her speech, Warren was interrupted with cheers when she noted that “we have a presidential election coming up.” Some chanted, “Run, Elizabeth, run.” Warren sought to tamp down the applause.
She said recent administrations had been filled with people in senior roles with links to Wall Street, including giant banks like Citigroup.
Her speech made no direct mention of Clinton, who is skipping the Netroots convention. Nor did she mention Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders or former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, who will address the group Saturday. But she sought to lay down a marker on the types of economic policies she hopes to see in the campaign.
Democrats have made a pronounced pitch to regulate Wall Street in recent weeks.
O’Malley recently released a set of economic proposals that included setting a three-year revolving door ban on people working in his administration on financial policy or regulation. Sanders said in an interview earlier this month that if elected, his cabinet would not be “dominated by Wall Street.” Clinton, in an economic speech last week, said she would seek criminal prosecution of rogue bankers.
Some liberal groups have criticized President Barack Obama’s appointment of senior officials with Wall Street ties to roles overseeing the industry. They argue installing people in government to regulate their former employers leads to a cozy relationship between government and industry.
“Who a candidate — or a president — chooses as their advisers matters,” said Jim Dean, chair of Democracy for America, a liberal group.
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