Dr. Chris Brummer is an experienced thought leader in the realm of fintech, higher education, and financial policymaking. The professor of Law and Faculty Director of Georgetown University’s Institute of International Economic Law is committed to highlighting the systemic inequalities plaguing the financial regulation sector of the U.S. government. Recently, Dr. Brummer shared his comprehensive findings via the joint venture between the Brookings Institution and Georgetown law, entitled “Where Are The Black Financial Regulators?” This unprecedented research provided the first empirical data available about the systemic lack of diversity within the financial regulation sector.
Background And History
Since the New Deal, there has been a virtual absence of African American individuals within a leadership role across all facets of financial regulation in the U.S. government. Spanning across multiple generations, African American financial regulators are merely sprinkled across a few singular appointments. To date, there has never been an African American Chairman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the Securities and Exchange Commission, or the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.
At the Securities and Exchange Commission, and at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, there are no African American Commissioners. Across both party lines, there is a vastly limited presence of African American staffers for political appointees. According to Dr. Brummer, these disappointing statistics are merely the tip of an iceberg that dates back several decades, and elicit long-term consequences spanning across all sectors.
Challenges Of Economic Exclusion
Participatory democracy can only exist if all parties are represented. Financial regulatory agencies essentially create the framework and infrastructure for capitalism to propel forward. Dr. Brummer recognizes the power of these institutions, who ultimately control the outcome of trillions of dollars of assets. These factions decide how assets are regulated, the allocation of funds within society, and the relative costs of this control. These regulations are inherently intended to protect the public, increase fiscal opportunities, generate wealth, and better the lives of all individuals. While these roles may seem like vague “big picture” thoughts, Dr. Brummer points out that these bodies are responsible for very tangible rules that produce specific results.
For example, financial legislation agencies determine what demographic and hiring information needs to be shared by hiring agents. They determine who is eligible to receive taxpayer backed financial assistance during times of great strife. They are also tasked with implementing the outcomes of legislation like the Fair Housing Act, and Equal Credit Opportunity Act. Intentionally and inadvertently, the actions of these agencies can help to bridge racially based income and wealth gaps. Thus, the absence of African Americans in leadership positions amongst these organizations means that this population doesn’t receive adequate representation in the face of decisions that will greatly impact entire communities.
Bringing The Numbers To Light
Prior to Dr. Brummer’s research, the lack of inclusivity within the financial regulation sector in the U.S. government has remained largely unstudied, and unpublished. Thus far, there have been no mandatory laws governing record keeping of political appointees or their staffers. From a public sector perspective, Dr. Brummer adds that interest from special interest organizations and news outlets has been historically limited. Added together, these factors have led to vastly limited statistical information to support facts that are undeniable, yet not implicitly documented. Without transparency and factually based research, well-informed and open dialogue to evolve the status quo cannot exist. This is why Dr. Chris Brummer’s research is so critical to forwarding the conversation.
What Dr. Brummer Found
Dr. Brummer’s research lends the first comprehensive multi-agency look at the full scope of exclusion within the financial regulation sector. Brummer explores the vast challenges associated with diversity across the sector. First, Dr. Brummer provides the exhaustive history of African American financial regulators since the New Deal. He lends factual and historically accurate accounts of these individuals, their backgrounds and education, and their relative duties and outcomes. To fully understand their presence in the scope of a relative time period, Dr. Brummer also provides historical context to supplement factual information. Dr. Brummer highlights the political conditions that were present at the time of the appointment of African American financial regulators.
Dr. Brummer highlights that during circumstances that allowed Senate leaders to suggest names for nomination for various appointments, there is only one case of a Senate leader nominating an African American individual. For two generations, Dr. Brummer’s data suggests that African Americans have been dependent on the Executive branch of government for nominations into positions, rather than personal nominations from Senate leaders. Neither party has sponsored an African American appointment without Executive Brand action since Ronald Reagan’s first term in office.
The Status Quo
In addition to extensively examining the past, Dr. Brummer also took inventory of current African American appointees within financial regulatory agencies. This research suggests that amongst current appointees, political ideology doesn’t hold much value within the hiring process. According to Dr. Brummer’s findings, current caucasian political appointees from both parties are failing to hire African American professionals within senior leadership positions. If this status quo continues, the future will be greatly impacted as current African American appointees retire, or leave their post.
The Question Of Why?
In order to change a systemic pattern, the causes of such a pattern must be examined. Thus, Dr. Brummer’s research delves into multiple potential causes for systemic distortions in staffing and political appointments within the financial regulation realm. Brummer introduces the Staffer Pipeline Theory, which explains the convoluted and varying ways that political appointments are passed. This theory highlights the propensity for various existing leaders to nominate their own staffers for appointments, propelling only candidates that are deemed “high profile”. According to Brummer’s data, over 50% of all appointments involve previous Senate staffers.
Dr. Brummer’s research provides the first empirical data detailing the systemic exclusion of African Americans financial regulators in government positions. This important research lends a deeper look into the history of exclusion, and highlights the importance of inclusivity within the financial regulation sector. As a thought leader in this arena, Dr. Brummer highlights the importance of continuing to conduct research, and delve further into the implications and analysis of his own research. He encourages the government to conduct research into the matter, alter record keeping practices, and evolve practices accordingly to welcome inclusivity.