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Warren, lawmakers urge financial industry to reject Bannon

Senator Elizabeth Warren, trailed by Senator Jeff Merkley, arrived for the Senate Democratic party leadership elections Wednesday.Jonathan Ernst/REUTERS

Four ranking members of congressional committees on finance and banking, led by Senator Elizabeth Warren, urged financial industry leaders to oppose President-elect Donald Trump’s appointment of Stephen Bannon to his administration.

In a letter Wednesday to the heads of nine major banking and investment-industry associations, the lawmakers pressed the executives to condemn the appointment, calling this moment a “test of the moral leadership of the banking and finance community.”

Bannon is the former chief of Breitbart News, a right-wing news site, who has been named White House chief strategist.

The letter went out to the heads of such groups as the American Bankers Association and the mutual fund industry’s Investment Company Institute, which stand to benefit from Trump’s promises to roll back financial regulations.


Both groups had previously issued public comments of support for Trump upon his victory in the election.

Warren and other lawmakers have condemned Trump’s appointment of Bannon. In the letter they said, “This appointment will put a bigot beloved by white supremacists and supported by the American Nazi Party and the KKK a few steps from the Oval Office.”

The letter goes on to say that bankers should oppose Bannon, just as they would not allow allegedly racist or misogynist behavior in their own institutions.

“Mr. Bannon’s track record speaks for itself — and it goes against everything you claim to stand for,’’ the letter said.

A slew of Bannon supporters offered unsolicited comment Wednesday, including Carl Higbie, a retired Navy SEAL who said in a statement about Bannon, “I cannot imagine a better person to be advising an already successful businessman taking on the biggest business in the world, the US government.”

Beth Healy can be reached at beth.healy@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @HealyBeth.