People close to Brainard note that she and husband Kurt Campbell, a prominent diplomat with his own shot at joining a Clinton administration, have school-aged children, which could prompt her to remain in her current seat on the Federal Reserve Board of Governors. No doubt the schedule is better in her current role.
But in case Brainard does choose to leave the Fed for a Clinton appointment, here’s how such a move would work.
Governors are appointed and confirmed for 14-year terms, but they are not bound to stay the whole time. Recall the example of Sarah Bloom Raskin, who joined the board in October 2010 and left in March 2014 after she was confirmed as deputy Treasury secretary. If governors intend to leave the board for a Senate-confirmed position, they notify the Fed chairman and other members of the board, and then recuse themselves from monetary policy decision-making during the confirmation process. Upon leaving the board, their position is filled by another appointee for the duration of their 14-year term.
Ex-Treasury secretary Timothy Geithner went through a similar process upon leaving the Federal Reserve Bank of New York for the Obama administration, recusing himself from monetary policy decisions and deciding not to attend meetings of the Federal Open Market Committee.
If Clinton wins and Brainard is offered the top spot at Treasury or another appointment and accepts, she’d notify Fed Chairwoman Janet Yellen and recuse herself from policy-making until the confirmation process concludes.
In her two prior turns before the Senate, Brainard was confirmed by 78-19 (for undersecretary of the Treasury for International Affairs in 2010) and 61-31 (Federal Reserve Board of Governors in 2014), though in the first case, her nomination was stalled for months over concerns on the Senate Finance Committee about her tax returns.
Too bad nominees can’t withhold those by claiming they’re being audited.