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Ocasio-Cortez grills Wells Fargo CEO; asks if bank involved in “caging children”

March 13, 2019

Freshman Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez asked Wells Fargo’s CEO on Tuesday whether his bank was involved in “caging children.”

CEO Tim Sloan was testifying before the House Financial Services Committee when the New York Democrat asked if his bank financed companies that built immigration detention centers

“Why was the bank involved in the caging of children and financing the caging of children to begin with?” she asked, appearing to take Mr. Sloan by surprise.

“I don’t know how to answer that question, because we weren’t,” responded Mr. Sloan.

The representative pointed to a Guardian opinion piece that referenced Wells Fargo doing businesses with a “for-profit immigration detention centers.

“For a period of time, we were involved in financing one of the firms. We aren’t anymore. I’m not familiar with the specific assertions that you’re making, but we weren’t directly involved in that,” said Mr. Sloan.

She shot back:“OK, so these companies run private detention facilities run by ICE, which is involved in caging children, but I’ll move on.”

She quickly transitioned to concerns about the Dakota Access Pipeline.

“So hypothetically, if there was a leak from the Dakota Access Pipeline, why shouldn’t Wells Fargo pay for the cleanup of it, since it paid for the construction of the pipeline itself?” Ms. Ocasio-Cortez asked.

The CEO said that Wells Fargo did not handle the operation side of the venture, adding “our team reviewed the environmental impact and we concluded that it was a risk that we were willing to take.”