White House Considers Economist Judy Shelton for Fed Board

The White House is considering conservative economist Judy Shelton to fill one of the two vacancies on the Federal Reserve Board of Governors that President Donald Trump has struggled to fill.

Shelton has been contacted by the White House regarding the position, according to two people familiar with the matter who described the outreach on condition of anonymity.

She declined a request for comment, but on Saturday responded “Thank you, sir” to a tweet from Representative Jim Banks, Republican of Indiana, saying she’d be a “great pick” for the central bank.Shelton, who’s served as an informal adviser to Trump, holds a Ph.D. in business administration with an emphasis on finance and international economics from the University of Utah.

She’s currently U.S. executive director for the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, and previously worked for the Sound Money Project, which was founded to promote awareness about monetary stability and financial privacy.

Fed’s Infallibility

In April, Shelton wrote a commentary for the Wall Street Journal entitled “The Case for Monetary Regime Change.” She said it was “entirely prudent to question the infallibility of the Federal Reserve in calibrating the money supply to the needs of the economy.” Trump has struggled to find candidates for the Fed that are acceptable to the senators who vote on whether to advance through committee and later to confirm nominees. Trump has named four people for the two open seats on the board of governors. None of them has made it through the Senate, raising questions about the White House vetting process for his picks.

Conservative economic pundit Stephen Moore on May 2 was the latest Fed candidate to flame out, following businessman Herman Cain and economists Nellie Liang and Marvin Goodfriend.

Moore’s exit, following weeks of questions about his qualifications and criticism of his past writings and public remarks, renewed frustrations among Republicans and the president’s own advisers that the nomination process is light on background research and driven largely by the president’s whims.

Moore and Cain withdrew before being formally nominated. Liang and Goodfriend were nominated in 2018. Goodfriend wasn’t renominated this year and Liang withdrew in the face of tepid enthusiasm for them among Senate Republicans and Trump himself.

Before the current zero-for-four streak Trump succeeded in filling three posts on the Fed board and elevating Jerome Powell, already a governor, to the chairmanship — though the president soured on him following the central bank’s string of 2018 interest rate increases. The president also won Senate confirmation of Fed Vice Chairman Richard Clarida and the Fed’s vice chairman for supervision, Randal Quarles.

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