Republican Senator Josh Hawley asked Neera Tanden, president of the Center for American Progress and Joe Biden's appointee for director of the Office of Management and Budget, about a number of questionable donations her organization has accepted over the years.
Hawley began by asking Tanden about whether she believes that "Wall Street and big tech companies have too much influence," to which Tanden responded "yes."
"You solicited tens of millions of dollars in donations from Wall Street and Silicon Valley companies as president of the Center for American Progress including very large contributions from Mark Zuckerberg," Hawley said. "How will you advocate for working people given your history of soliciting tens of millions of dollars from the biggest and most powerful corporations on the planet?"
Tanden said she would "uphold the highest ethical standards," while saying that she understands the Senator's concerns. She further claimed that her policy positions "have been determined by financial interests of any single person."
"$665,000 from the personal foundation of Mr. Zuckerberg. Millions of dollars from Wall Street financiers, big banks, foreign govts, Silicon Valley. A million dollars from the managing partner of Bain Capital, $2.5 million from the UAE," Hawley listed. "How can you ensure us that you'll be an independent actor?"
Tanden said she has spent much of her career at the Center for American Progress promoting higher taxes and greater regulation on large corporations and that she believes that power must be "rebalanced" in our economy.
Tanden has faced considerable controversy over the years for her role at the Center for American Progress, especially in regard to her allegedly cozy relationship with big money. In 2015, researchers at the progressive organization compiled a chapter of a report on Islamophobia in the New York Police Department. After receiving a large donation from former Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the chapter was removed from the final report.
Other major donors to the Center for American Progress includes George Soros's Open Society Foundation, the Walton Family Foundation, the Ford Foundation, two Rockefeller organizations, Facebook, Amazon, Google, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, J.P. Morgan, Microsoft, and various others.
She has also promoted debunked conspiracy theories surrounding the 2016 presidential election, suggesting that Trump won due to Russian interference.
Following the election, she publicly called upon Electoral College electors to overturn the results of the election by switching their votes to Hillary Clinton despite the democratic wishes of their states' voters.
Other controversies surrounding Tanden include a leaked email where she endorsed stealing Libya's oil following the overthrow of their former dictator Muammar Gaddafi. In 2008, she responded to one of her own employees asking then-Senator Hillary Clinton about her support for the Iraq War by punching her, although she later claimed that she had just "pushed" her.
More recently, Tanden apologized for her comments about various Republican lawmakers, including comparing Senator Ted Cruz to a "vampire" and calling Senator Tom Cotton "a fraud."