President Joe Biden’s decision to appoint a Wall Street veteran as chairman of a Treasury Department commission is under scrutiny by watchdogs. Orin Kramer, founder of Boston Provident LP hedge fund, has been named the chairman of the Commission on Social Impact Partnerships, an advisory board responsible for providing recommendations on government grants. This appointment has raised concerns due to Kramer’s significant financial contributions to Biden’s 2024 campaign. Additionally, Kramer co-hosted a fundraiser for Biden last September, featuring Broadway stars.
Critics argue that this appointment is yet another example of Biden rewarding campaign donors and allies with top government positions. They believe it reinforces the perception that the government is not serving the interests of ordinary people but rather the wealthy and well-connected. The president has faced previous criticism for appointing fundraisers and close associates to key roles within his administration. This includes the appointment of Elizabeth Hirsh Naftali, a major Democratic donor who purchased Hunter Biden’s art, to a commission overseeing European monuments.
Kramer has personally contributed significant amounts to Biden’s campaign and joint fundraising committee. Critics argue that giving influential positions to political donors raises concerns about corruption and ethical lapses, as taxpayer funds are allocated. They believe it is important for the administration to prioritize qualified individuals over campaign contributors.
Through his role as chairman, Kramer will lead the commission in advising Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen on the Social Impact Partnership to Pay for Results Act. This act is designed to enhance certain social services and allocate taxpayer funds to programs across the country. Notable past recipients of these funds include the New York City Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice and an Oklahoma program for women with substance use disorders.
Some watchdog groups argue that federal commissions should not be used as “playgrounds” for wealthy individuals seeking prestige. They urge Biden to select qualified individuals who are not simply looking for a prestigious board position. The Treasury Department and Kramer have not commented on these concerns.
President Biden’s appointment of a campaign donor with Wall Street connections to a powerful position within the Treasury Department raises serious ethical concerns. It gives the impression that the Biden administration is rewarding wealthy individuals for their financial support instead of prioritizing merit and qualifications. This type of cronyism only further undermines public trust in the government and perpetuates the perception that it is controlled by special interests. It is crucial for the Biden administration to demonstrate a commitment to transparency and merit-based appointments.]