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Towns Will Lead House Oversight & Gov't Reform

By Ed O'Keefe

House Democrats tapped Rep. Edolphus "Ed" Towns (D-N.Y.) to lead the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform Wednesday night, following the GOP's selection of Darrell Issa (Calif.) as ranking member earlier in the day.

Rep. Edolphus Towns listens to testimony from former Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae chief executive officers on Tuesday on Capitol Hill. (AP/Susan Walsh)

"I am humbled and honored by my colleagues’ support and confidence," Towns said in a statement. "There is a great deal of work to be done to ensure a smooth transition, and I look forward to working with both my Democratic and Republican colleagues in concert with the Obama Administration to ensure the federal government is transparent, responsive and efficient." The statement also said that Towns plans to focus the committee on "constructive oversight of the executive branch and private sector, contracting reform, the rights and duties of federal employees, and voting representation for the District of Columbia."

Anyone who works for the Federal government or is concerned about government waste, fraud and abuse should keep an Eye on this committee. Its mandate to investigate all sorts of questionable actions and wrongdoing can wreak havoc for bureaucrats and often leads to unflattering press attention on certain corners of government.

Towns, a 26-year veteran of the committee, takes over the top spot as Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) prepares to lead the Committee on Energy and Commerce. Towns's ascension initially seemed at risk as other Democrats considered challenging him to head the committee. Some questioned his spotty attendance record and the fact that he himself was once the focus of a government investigation. Democratic House leaders reportedly preferred another senior committee member, Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), for the job. Efforts to push another candidate ended once Towns secured the support of most of the Congressional Black Caucus, including Cummings.

By Ed O'Keefe  | December 11, 2008; 10:15 AM ET
Categories:  Congress  
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Next: Issa: ‘No Limit’ to What Oversight Committee Will Investigate

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