Zywicki in WSJ: Warren Insulated from Congressional Oversight

Despite the administration's assurances that the Federal Reserve's new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau will operate independently from politics and be grounded in sound data, Professor Todd Zywicki believes the naming of Harvard Law Professor Elizabeth Warren as de facto agency head undermines both goals.

In a Wall Street Journal op-ed, Zywicki is critical of the findings of some of Warren's prior studies, contrasting them with analysis done by the Department of Justice's Executive Office of the United States Trustee and others. He also expresses concern for the reports of the Congressional Oversight Panel of the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) of which Warren was chair, saying the reality that many walked away from homes whose values had fallen from the amount owed is largely absent from the TARP panel's reports.

By avoiding the confirmation process, the Obama administration has eliminated the opportunity for Warren to explain her research data interpretation, says Zywicki. He adds that by installing Warren as an assistant to the president inside the White House, the administration has insulated Warren from meaningful congressional oversight.

In Elizabeth Warren We Trust? The Wall Street Journal, September 30, 2010. By Todd Zywicki.

"The head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is one of the most powerful bureaucratic positions ever created in the American political system. It can regulate or ban almost every consumer credit product in the country, yet it is beyond Congress's power of the purse because its budget is guaranteed as a percentage of the Fed's annual revenues. Under normal circumstances, the Senate would have the opportunity to ask Ms. Warren to explain the way in which she has sometimes interpreted data in her research before entrusting her with control of the agency."