Secretary Chao Gets a Free Pass From House Financial Services in Wells Fargo Hearing

Washington, D.C. – At today’s House Financial Services Committee hearing, lawmakers gave a scathing overview of the wide breadth of consumer abuses Wells Fargo committed on its board of directors’ watch.

But Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, who served on the Wells Fargo Board of Directors from 2011 until 2017, was not present to answer for the board’s failed oversight alongside two of her former fellow board members. In fact, her name wasn’t even mentioned by the Committee as a member of the board during a plethora of scandals that led potentially millions of families into lasting financial ruin.

As Rep. Gregory Meeks mentioned, Wells Fargo was embroiled in a series of scandals that harmed potentially millions of consumers. Even though Chao was on the board for all of these scandals, her name has still not been mentioned as part of the problem:

  • Creating fake accounts in its customers names;

  • Improperly repossessing service member cars;

  • Failing living will tests;

  • Creating even more fake accounts for customers;

  • Failing community lending tests;

  • Having to give a whistleblower his job back after he won a $5.4 million settlement against the bank;

  • Facing a lawsuit over overcharging small business retailers.

Restore Public Trust released the following statement in response:

“Elaine Chao is getting a free pass from House Financial Services for her role in allowing massive corporate fraud and abuse unfold on her watch,” said Lizzy Price, director of Restore Public Trust. “Wells Fargo defrauded potentially millions of innocent people during Secretary Elaine Chao’s tenure on the board of directors, leading families into financial ruin. Now Chao sits comfortably in a taxpayer-funded administration job, continuing to earn money from Wells Fargo while the bank’s victims are still struggling to recover. It’s an unconscionable failure in oversight that House Financial Services hasn’t demanded that Chao testify so she can answer for her time on Wells Fargo’s board.”


Press Release

Elaine ChaoPress Release

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