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.
July 28, 2010; 5:00 PM ET
Categories: Consumer Financial Protection Bureau , U.S. Treasury
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