Wells Fargo CEO Tim Sloan fired back at New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez at a contentious hearing in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, after the freshman legislator accused the bank of “financing the caging of children” and suggested it should bear financial liability for everything from oil spills to climate change.
Ocasio-Cortez’s inquiries come as activists increasingly seek to “deplatform” political opponents by cutting off their funding from banks and other financial services providers — a concerted effort that conservatives and libertarians have said threatens free speech.
House Financial Services Committee Chairman Maxine Waters, D-Calif., brought Sloan before the panel Tuesday as part of a broad, four-hour inquiry into widely reported fraudulent misconduct in recent years by Wells Fargo employees. But in questioning Sloan, who faced bipartisan criticism during the hearing, Ocasio-Cortez, a self-described Democratic socialist, quickly went much further.
“Why was the bank involved in the caging of children and financing the caging of children to begin with?” Ocasio-Cortez asked at one point, in an apparent reference to the Trump administration’s zero-tolerance immigration policy, which resulted in increased separations of parents suspected of criminal activity from the minors who accompanied them.
The White House has pointed out that images widely circulated on social media showing migrant children in large, fenced-off detention rooms were taken during the Obama administration.
Sloan responded simply, “I don’t know how to answer that question, because we weren’t.” – READ MORE