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GOP appointees to oversight panel praise Elizabeth Warren's work

By Brady Dennis

Consumer advocates, labor unions, liberal groups, scores of Democratic lawmakers, even the National Organization for Women, have urged President Obama to nominate Harvard law professor Elizabeth Warren as director of the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

On Wednesday, Warren got a little love from the GOP side of the aisle, if not an outright endorsement for the job.

The two Republican appointees to the Congressional Oversight Panel, the group chaired by Warren that oversees the government's $700 billion bank bailout program, issued a statement saying that while they disagreed with many of Warren's views and opposed the creation of the consumer watchdog, they had found their dealings with her "to be collegial and professional."

The pair praised Warren for conducting exhaustive investigations into the federal government's rescue of firms such as American International Group and GMAC, even when those reviews produced results that didn't always shine a glowing light on the Treasury Department.

"It is important to note that the panel has been critical of policies and decisions implemented by Democrats and Republicans alike," wrote University of Kentucky economics Professor Kenneth Troske and J. Mark McWatters, a Dallas lawyer and certified public accountant, who serve on the five-member panel. "There is great virtue in that because, while it is easy to question the decisions made by members of the other political party, it takes courage to publicly question the decisions made by members of your own party."

They added, "We often debate a wide variety of issues with Professor Warren and have found her quite willing to modify her views if presented with well-reasoned, cogent arguments."

In e-mails Wednesday, the two men said they were troubled by recent reports that Warren's work on the oversight panel, namely the criticisms of Treasury contained in its reports, might hinder her chances as a candidate to direct the new consumer bureau. "In our view," McWatters wrote, "such a proposition would besmirch the integrity and creditability of the panel as well as the critical and fundamental role of independent oversight. What point is there in having a watchdog that is a blind supporter of, or an apologist for, the subject of its oversight? How can the public expect overseers to function in a transparent and accountable manner if subsequent political appointments become contingent on looking the other way?"

Both men were quick to say that they are not endorsing Warren or any other candidate to head the new regulator.

By Brady Dennis  |  July 28, 2010; 5:00 PM ET
Categories:  Consumer Financial Protection Bureau , U.S. Treasury  
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Next: Economic agenda: Thursday, July 29, 2010


Lord, help us! I think the Republicans cannot figure a way to say NO to Elizabeth Warren. If that is so, then for once we the little people have finally won.

Posted by: janetal | July 28, 2010 8:13 PM | Report abuse

On Main Street, would we trust the cops if the chief of police and many of his officers were former or future employees of the biggest private business in town, some shady guy that had rumored ties to the mob and drug dealing? What if that business's new, local competitor repeatedly had its windows shot out, would we trust the cops to investigate properly? What if his son was often seen drunk driving in town, would we trust the cops to put an end to it before someone got killed? What if the owner of the that business was caught dumping toxic chemicals into the towns water supply, would expect the cops tied to him to criminally pursue the case with vigor?

The point of a democracratically controlled government is the idea the whole of the people, will make laws with the goal of the common good, common wealth in mind, that the people will have the power, not just the special interests of one entity or group. The point of democratically controlled local police force is that the will of the people gets enforced uniformly and fairly to all, without bias or corruption. And no, we don't think its fair if the police are all completely looking out for one person or one business and not enforcing laws consistently.

So we seem to get this on Main Street, but when comes to Wall Street, the bankers want us to believe financial and economic anarchy is the way to go. Well we did that for last couple of decades, and lo and behold, financial institutions are no more capable of self-policing themselves and their markets than main street is. Yes, we prefer main street not have a oppressive police presence and armed checkpoints, but main street knows it needs SOME police, with guns. Main Street knows that in the absence of any police power, gangs, bullies and criminal elements can and often will eventually take over.

Wall Street thinks they don't need any police, and the sight of a few folks in uniform enforcing laws is some kind of horrible dictatorial, economy crushing govermental tyranny. If there must be police, they can't be good cops unless they have worked for them, or will work for them when they retire...hmmmm.

That the banks are launching a sneaky, insider attack on Warren is not surprising. But we, the people, should know we have to have smart, effective powerful cops to keep our markets safe, fair, and attractive. We the people should know the banks shouldn't run EVERYTHING, win EVERYTHING. Wall Street apologists talk about Warren like she is some sort of crazed revolutionary that will raze the credit markets and leave us all bartering for food. Please, Warren is a good cop, professional, fair and competent. She is not an idiot that will ham-handedly destroy our credit markets.

And her COP colleagues went out of their way to say that good cops like her should not be maligned for doing their job well, they shouldn't be shunned for other cop jobs because they annoyed some people while enforcing the law uniformly. They make a good point.

Posted by: kankankan | July 29, 2010 7:58 AM | Report abuse

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