Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) suggested that Wells Fargo was "involved" in the caging of migrant children because the bank used to finance private prison companies CoreCivic and Geo Group.
"Mr. Sloan, why was the bank involved in the caging of children and financing the caging of children to begin with?" the freshman House Democrat and economics major asked Wells Fargo CEO Timothy Sloan.
"Uh, I don’t know how to answer that question because we weren’t," Sloan replied.
"Uh, so in finance — you, you were financing and involved in financing of debt of CoreCivic and Geo Group, correct?" she shot back.
To which Sloan replied: "For a period of time, we were involved in financing one of the firms — we’re not anymore and the other. I’m not familiar with the specific assertion that you’re making, but we weren’t directly involved in that."
"OK, so these companies run private detention facilities run by ICE, which is involved in caging children, but I’ll move on," AOC retorted.
Of note, Wells Fargo was prominently featured in a November 2016 report along with nine other banks for lending CoreCivic and GEO Group $444 million and $450 million respectively during the Obama administration - the same period of time during which a a photo of caged children misattributed to the Trump administration was taken.
Wells Fargo and other banks have decided to reevaluate their lending activities to private prisons amid controversy over the Trump administration's immigration policies.
AOC then shifted gears, asking Sloan if Wells Fargo should be involved in paying for environmental cleanup if a bank-financed oil project such as the Dakota Pipeline were to leak.
"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?" asked AOC - suggesting that the pipeline is "widely seen to be environmentally unstable."
Sloan looked a bit puzzled, replying: "Again the reason we were one of the 17 or 19 banks that financed that is because our team reviewed the environmental impact and we concluded that it was a risk that we were willing to take."
Socialist Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) asks Wells Fargo CEO Timothy Sloan: "Hypothetically, if there was a leak from the Dakota Access pipeline, why shouldn't Wells Fargo pay for the clean up of it?"— Ryan Saavedra (@RealSaavedra) March 12, 2019
Sloan: "Because we don't operate the pipeline, we provide financing" pic.twitter.com/c6cShbStuk
The responses to AOC's line of questioning have been entertaining to say the least.
Deep thoughts from AOC:— TheLastRefuge (@TheLastRefuge2) March 12, 2019
Should the bank who holds your mortgage be responsible for cleaning your kitchen after a grease fire?
If an elephant walks through your front yard, how many pancakes does it take to fill a canoe? https://t.co/u9xyMMlRET
Why in the hell are we paying to educate @AOC as she learns (at a snails pace) on the job? She’s making $175K while she attends fantasy camp.— JDC (@johnc286) March 12, 2019
Hypothetically, if you moved campaign funds to an LLC to be redistributed against FEC rules, your donors should be responsible? @AOC smart— AmeroAmigo (@AmeroAmigo) March 13, 2019
Budweiser is to blame for drunk driving, also— Some random thoughts (@someideasnstuff) March 13, 2019
And cutlery companies for stabbings!