SIX SENATE DEMOCRATS have asked the Treasury Department’s inspector general to investigate whether Keith Noreika, head of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, is illegally serving in office.
As The Intercept first reported, September 12 represented Noreika’s 130th day in control of the OCC, one of the most critical banking regulators in the federal government. That’s a key number, because Noreika, a former financial industry lawyer thrust into the position overnight, has been serving as a “special government employee,” a designation that exempts him from certain ethics and disclosure rules for members of the executive branch. This enables Noreika to serve as OCC chief without Senate vetting, and then roll back to a white-shoe law firm, evading certain restrictions on whether he can communicate with former colleagues or lobby the agency.
Noreika planned to serve temporarily until Joseph Otting, former CEO of OneWest Bank and Trump’s nominee for the OCC, was confirmed. But that hasn’t happened yet; Otting’s nomination has sat on the Senate calendar for over a month.
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