While successful and historical, the nomination of Lisa Cook to the Federal Reserve Board of Governors was not without bad-faith conservative attacks demeaning Cook’s background. Cook is a tenured economics professor at Michigan State University (M.S.U.) and has held roles at Harvard and Stanford in addition to visiting roles at multiple Federal Reserve Banks and a position on the White House Council of Economic Advisors Under President Obama. Despite her formidable qualifications, conservative attacks centered around an attempt to paint Cook as underqualified.

Cook was confirmed as the first Black woman on the Federal Reserve Board of Governors on May 10th, 2022 – 118 days after her initial nomination on January 13th, 2022. Since there are only six Federal Reserve Board of Governors members, it’s hard to compare Cook’s nomination process. Cook would have been confirmed two weeks earlier on April 26th had it not been for Democratic absences due to COVID. Cook’s name was first floated for the position as early as February 2021, which gave the conservative apparatus ample time to formulate attacks and lines of inquiry during hearings.

These attacks seem to originate from an independent investigative journalist and Daily Caller contributor, Christopher Brunet, working via a Substack page titled “Karlstack Economics.” Brunet began looking into Cook in the Spring of 2021, and immediately started questioning her qualifications for the position saying if Cook “were an Asian male economist, she would be laughed out of any school in the top 200.” The Daily Caller and Tucker Carlson picked up Brunet’s reporting in February 2022. The following month Brunet released a copy of Cook’s tenure packet, doubling down on his assertion that Cook was unqualified.

At the same time, the conservative opposition research firm the American Accountability Foundation (A.A.F.) started to boost Brunet’s reporting on Twitter and released video clips of Cook speaking out of context on Zoom calls. The A.A.F. is a non-profit Republican opposition research firm founded by former Senate staffers for Republican Jim DeMint, who now runs the Conservative Partnership Institute (C.P.I.). Notably, C.P.I. is listed as the “care of name” on the A.A.F.’s founding tax form. Since the A.A.F. was founded in January 2021, little is known about its funding sources. Nevertheless, the A.A.F. began with around $600,000 in funding, and projects to have over $1 million in funding in subsequent years.

The attacks against Cook’s qualifications culminated in Senator Hagerty calling for Cook’s background to be investigated. However, any such investigation did not end up happening as Cook was successfully confirmed weeks later.

Nomination Timeline and Initial Reception


Negative Response From Right-Wing Media and Senators


Source of Right-Wing Attacks on Cook


Senate Votes and Eventual Confirmation


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