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OT: Obama Administration Needs to Nominate Elizabeth Warren to Run the CFPA *updated*

July 24, 2010

**See multiple updates below**This post is not Hillary-related but I’m a huge Elizabeth Warren fan so, here it goes.

If the Obama administration is afraid to nominate Warren, the woman who first conceived of the Consumer Financial Protection Agency (CFPA) several years ago in a paper she published, then their claims of supporting meaningful reforms which protect consumers will largely be revealed to be little other than empty rhetoric. It’s bad enough that the Wall Street “reform” package contains so many pro-banking loopholes that the Titanic could sail through it and it’s bad enough that the legislation failed to deal with the very problem that led to the global financial crisis- having banks that are too big too fail-but now the administration seems to be worried that the banking industry will be mad if Warren heads the CFPA because, well, she’s too pro-consumer. Brilliant, really.

It would seem that most Republicans, Wall Street and some in the Obama admin. would like to appoint a figure-head who is more sympathetic to Wall Street than to Main Street. Talk about cynical! Apparently, Timmy Geithner (who I am not a fan of) opposes Warren, probably because of this (you really must watch this if you haven’t seen it already):

It’s like a repeat of the whole sordid fiasco with the Boy’s Club (Rubin, Greenspan, Summers and to a lesser extent, Geithner) that opposed Brooksley Born’s warning about the abuse of derivatives, the dangers of lax regulation and her prescient concerns about a pending financial crisis during the Clinton years. If you haven’t seen the Frontline program about this, check it out- that this elite Boy’s Club were able to successfully silence this brilliant woman (Born) and help lead us down the path to financial ruin, still says a lot about what’s wrong with Washington these days. We need a new sheriff in town because the Boys have had their turn and its time for Geithner, Summers, Rubin and other acolytes of no regulation, ever, to let people like Warren usher in a new era of financial responsibility and oversight.

Anyway, it’s not lost on too many people that Warren seems to be the more modern version of Born and the fact that many of the usual suspects oppose her nomination tells me that they haven’t learned much since the 1990’s. Summers, Geithner and Company are still looking out for their Wall Street pals.

Rep. Barney Frank is rooting for Warren in a not-so-subtle way:

If President Obama fears Elizabeth Warren won’t be confirmed by the Senate to head the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, he should just appoint her while the Senate is on one of its many vacations, House Financial Services Chairman Barney Frank said Friday.

Referring to her as “far and away the best candidate,” Frank said Warren, a noted consumer advocate and bailout watchdog who conceived the agency in a 2007 article, not only cares about protecting consumers but also has the political chops to get things done for them in Washington.

“If [Warren] can’t be confirmed she should be a recess [appointment],” Frank, who helped shepherd the recently-enacted financial reform bill into law, told the Huffington Post on Friday.

“Given the way [the Senate has] misused the filibuster… given it’s anti-Democratic, I think the President did exactly the right thing with Donald Berwick,” the 15-term Massachusetts Congressman added, referring to an earlier Obama recess appointment to head the Centers for Medicare & Medicare Services.

Warren, a popular pick to lead the new consumer agency she envisioned, has seen her chances threatened by other candidates for the job. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner prefers Michael Barr, his assistant secretary for financial institutions and a veteran of the Clinton-era Treasury, according to people familiar with Geithner’s views…

Go Barney!

And then there is this, which makes me wonder what in the world Obama was thinking when he selected Geithner to head the Treasury Department:

As reported on HuffPost last week, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner has expressed opposition to the possible nomination of Elizabeth Warren to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, according to a source with knowledge of Geithner’s views.

One can assume that Geithner, being very close to the nation’s biggest banks, is concerned that Warren, if chosen, will exercise her new policing and enforcement powers to restrict those abusive practices at our commercial banks that have been harmful to consumers and depositors.

Certainly, Warren is not the commercial banking industry’s first pick to serve in this new role. And unlike other legislation in which an industry’s lobbying effort would naturally slow or cease once the legislation is passed, the new financial reform bill is continuing to attract enormous lobbying action from the banks. The reason is simple. The bill has been written to put a great deal of power as to how strongly it is implemented in the hands of its regulators, some of which remain to be chosen. The bank lobby will work incredibly hard to see that Warren, the person most responsible for initiating and fighting for the idea of a consumer financial protection group, is denied the opportunity to head it.

But this is not the only reason that Geithner is opposed to Warren’s nomination. I believe Geithner sees the appointment of Elizabeth Warren as a threat to the very scheme he has utilized to date to hide bank losses, thus keeping the banks solvent and out of bankruptcy court and their existing management teams employed and well-paid.



Warren’s appointment wouldn’t just be a setback, it would devastate Geithner’s entire plan on how to deal with trillions of bad assets the banks still won’t recognize as losers. That is why I think she is going to face enormous resistance, even inside of the administration. The next one to oppose Warren after Geithner will be Larry Summers for this very reason. Then they will see if they can get Bernanke and finally Obama on board. The pitch to Obama and Bernanke will not be personal, it will be the same phony argument that Paulson and Bernanke used to justify TARP to congress, they will say that if Warren is appointed the entire world of banking and finance as we know it will come to an end.


As to the other two potential nominees on Obama’s short list for the position, Michael S.Barr is Geithner’s boy currently working for him as an Assistant Secretary at Treasury. More importantly, he is Bob Rubin’s boy, having served as Rubin’s assistant in the Clinton administration. If you are Rubins’ boy, you are the bank lobby’s boy as this position of Rubin’s boy was previously held by Summers and then Geithner. Eugene Kimmelman seems like a nice enough person who has no background in finance. If the banking lobby can’t get their guy in, the next best thing is to get a completely clueless person in who is too afraid to act boldly given he couldn’t tell a CDO from a CEO. He has been the top lobbyist for the Consumers Union, so he is pro-lobbying and as a positive comment, really understands how toasters and garage door openers work.

So much for Change You Can Believe In.

As far as I’m concerned the argument against her running the agency is pretty weak and easily rebutted. The main argument is she lacks managerial experience and hasn’t run a huge agency before. Neither has about 95% of the heads of major government agencies including Hillary Clinton, Ken Salazar and, well, President Barack Obama (who, as we know, was a community organizer). So, that argument sucks.

Honestly, it’s time for Obama to show some backbone and STAND UP FOR SOMETHING! My God, if Obama and the Dems can’t make the case that the CPFA should be run by an actual believer in consumer rights, then they should just hang it up and let someone else lead the country.

Here’s another video with Warren- how can anyone think this woman shouldn’t head CFPA?

UPDATE: Sign the petition in support of Elizabeth Warren as head of the CFPA!

UPDATE II: More support for Warren!

UPDATE III:7/25/2010- Geithner was on the Sunday talk shows (ABC- Jake Tapper) and is doing a major backtrack on Elizabeth Warren. He’s now trying to make it sound like he supports her. I’m not buying it. After it was leaked that he didn’t support her, there was an incredible outcry and I think Obama told him to shut it.

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40 Comments leave one →
  1. PYW permalink
    July 24, 2010 4:57 pm

    I agree completely!

    BTW, stacy, do you know if Hillary has any public events next week or will get some well-deserved time off to help with Chelsea’s wedding?

    • July 24, 2010 6:31 pm

      Check your email PYW.

      But no, I don’t know her schedule for next week. If I get it I won’t post it because they don’t want that but I’d leave a note here in the comments saying whether or not she has a full week or not.

    • Tron San permalink
      June 9, 2012 7:10 pm




  2. Steve permalink
    July 24, 2010 6:34 pm

    Elizabeth Warren is fantastic and when it comes to Main Street, for once both liberals and conservatives are united in believing that Warren will defend their rights. I’m talking Main St. now, not rich conservatives.

    I really am conflicted about what to do in 2012 because when I read stuff like the articles you posted, about how the admin. is so deferential to Wall Street and is afraid of nominating her, it makes me want to vote third party. Increasingly, I don’t agree with anything this admin is doing. I really don’t. Now, if Hillary were on the ticket, I’d vote for him then, but lately, I’m not too fond of the “but at least we’re better than the Republithugs” argument which is clearly what Rahmbo and losers like Summers and Axelrod are thinking/hoping.

  3. AmericanBill permalink
    July 24, 2010 6:40 pm

    Yeah, you libs are really the party of the common people:

    2 million for a wedding when most americans can’t pay their mortgages because we’ve been fleeced by the the company Chelsea’s boyfriend works for Goldman Sachs. And Chelsea worked at mommy’s big money supporters hedge fund company. Talk about affirmative action. Then there’s the 16 million dollar estate mommy and daddy are gonna buy.

    The Clintons think and act like they are American royalty and they want everyone to know it. I guess a two million dollar house just isn’t good enough for such important people like Queen Hillary and King William.

    • Thain permalink
      July 24, 2010 7:25 pm


      • discourseincsharpminor permalink
        July 24, 2010 8:03 pm

        Man, I love your comments!


      • discourseincsharpminor permalink
        July 24, 2010 8:08 pm

        The comment complement was to Thain, btw.

  4. Steve permalink
    July 24, 2010 6:41 pm

    Oh Christ, look who’s back-the homophobe, lesbian-obsessed Hillary-hating troll AB.

  5. July 24, 2010 7:22 pm

    Ignore the trolls.

  6. Jory permalink
    July 24, 2010 7:25 pm

    I love Elizabeth Warren and I love this blog!

    You really are a good writer, we could use you writing in the media so you can hold these people to account!

  7. July 24, 2010 7:46 pm

    Very good post and I’m in complete agreement. Elizabeth Warren is definately the best pick for the job.

  8. pcfs permalink
    July 24, 2010 7:57 pm

    Warren is smart and not affraid to ask the tough questions. Geithner is Obamas boy.

    • Thain permalink
      July 24, 2010 8:33 pm

      Yup, Geithner is a tool. That video stacy put up of Warren asking him where all the TARP money went is priceless. It kind of makes me love Warren even more.

      And what happened to his eyebrows? They totally don’t exist. Never trust a guy without eyebrows, that’s my motto.

  9. July 24, 2010 8:04 pm

    Great post! As you write, the financial reforms are watered down and will not prevent a similar economic debacle from occurring. One of the main purposes of this bill was to begin restoring public confidence. And if Elizabeth Warren is not chosen, that purpose will not be attained either.

    Main Street is not stupid. We know if the consumer protection agency head is an insider, it will be business as usual. And we know anyone Geithner wants, we don’t…

  10. discourseincsharpminor permalink
    July 24, 2010 8:06 pm

    So, wait a minute, they don’t want her to head the Consumer Finacial Protection Agency because she might be too pro-consumer?! DC “logic” never fails to amaze me.

    • discourseincsharpminor permalink
      July 24, 2010 8:07 pm

      *edit* Financial. I promise I’m not as dumb as I sound!

    • Thain permalink
      July 25, 2010 10:54 am

      Isn’t it awesome? Obama will be able to go campaign and say “we didn’t pick Warren because the GOP, Wall Street and my vulcan treasury secretary don’t like her! What else could I do? I’m the first Post Partisan President and want to make everyone happy. Except liberals. waaaaaaaaaaah!”

  11. July 24, 2010 8:23 pm

    SIGN THE PETITION: Support Elizabeth Warren to head the CFPA:

  12. HillaryFan permalink
    July 24, 2010 8:55 pm

    A bit off topic but I was over on YouTube looking for current Hillary videos and came across this video which was on Fox News back during the election, I had never seen it even though at the time I would watch Fox News now and again, believing they were more fair to Hillary than other networks like MSNBC.

    Anyway, it’s an anti-Clinton spoof starring conservative pundit Laura Ingraham and it reminded me of something that has been said on this blog several times- that Fox never was pro-Hillary, they were just more anti-Obama. I wasn’t quite so sure I agreed with Stacy on that, but looking at stuff like this I think its true.

    • Thain permalink
      July 25, 2010 10:52 am

      I can’t stand Fox. They are the McDonalds of news organizations. I hate McDonalds too.

  13. HillaryFan permalink
    July 24, 2010 8:55 pm

    OMG, I didn’t think the whole video would show up in the comments! Sorry STacy! If you want to remove it, go ahead I thought just the link would show up.

    • July 24, 2010 8:59 pm

      No worries HF. The videos always show up if they are from YouTube. Not sure why.

      I hadn’t seen that but I don’t watch Fox and didn’t even during the primaries. It’s not allowed in our house 😉

      Laura Ingraham is annoying. She’s a slightly less angry version of anger-bear Ann Coulter.

      As for Faux News and Hillary, I don’t think they would EVER support a democrat, ever. I do think that they feared Obama for a variety of reasons and that they used the contentious primary to further sow division among Hillary and Obama supporters. Quite successfully I might add.

  14. Cris permalink
    July 24, 2010 9:02 pm

    Hey Stacey, are you doing a photo bomb tomorrow? *fingers crossed*


    • July 24, 2010 9:31 pm

      I believe I can manage a photo bomb tomorrow 😉

      OT: I’m speechless:

      • discourseincsharpminor permalink
        July 24, 2010 10:58 pm

        Oh come on, people!

        unless they’re Photo Bombs. 🙂

      • discourseincsharpminor permalink
        July 24, 2010 11:01 pm

        Hey, it deleted my !

      • July 25, 2010 9:02 am

        That military action would be shocking and devastating on so many levels – and I don’t mean just to Iran, I mean to the US and the world…

        I heard that North Korea is providing nuclear technology to Burma. I don’t see the media focusing on this. They prefer to focus on Iran.

  15. discourseincsharpminor permalink
    July 24, 2010 11:02 pm

    I give up. My joke is experiencing technical difficulties.

  16. July 25, 2010 9:56 am

    @SA- that’s because the media and Israel don’t really give a damn about Burma.

    The neocons and so-called pro-Israel hardliners are pushing hard for an attack on Iran and sadly, despite the fact that Bush is gone, neocons still seem to have left a big footprint on our foreign policy. We are as obsessed now with Iran as we were with Iraq and the evidence against Iran is just as sketchy as our evidence against Saddam. And lo and behold, it’s the very same people who were so wrong about Iraq, pushing for a confrontation with Iran. This is 100% about Israel, period.

    Israel does NOT want a diplomatic solution to the Iran issue and as we speak they are trying to undermine our efforts at rapprochement with Syria.

    Netanyahu seems to have a red phone which goes directly to Congress. Congress is now holding up the admin’s nominee for Amb. to Syria and Israel is pushing anti-Syria stories to get the AIPAC crowd all whipped up. It’s so predictable. Not that the Syrian government are a bunch of innocent boy scouts or anything, but come on. Ever since Obama’s Cairo speech, there has been push back from the neocons who have become more open in their anti-Arab racism. Because, you know, all Arabs/Muslims are terrorists!

    The irony is that the Likudniks seem to fear US attempts at improving relations with the Muslim word, despite the fact that it could drastically improve Israel’s security. Sometimes I think the neocons just always need an enemy to rail against, prop up the military-industrial complex with and blame for all their bad policies.

    • discourseincsharpminor permalink
      July 25, 2010 3:39 pm

      There seems to be a portion of the American population that has to have an enemy – some group to rail on generally tout our supremacy over. For decades it was “the Commies” and that kept this crew satisfied. Then the Soviet Union was no more and that made communists for less terrifying because there weren’t enough of them. From Dec. 1991 to Sept. 2001 we had no solid enemy to go after, so the political parties turned on each other. Now, post 9/11, terrorists are the enemy but that’s still a pretty small group so, since the terrorists are muslim, the chosen group to hate is now muslims rather than just terrorists. This works for Netanyahu and Co. (Israeli hardcore anti-Arab folks) so they push the idea along to their constituents in the US. It is as stupid as it sounds, but now there are more and more signs that there will be another international incident over it. Meanwhile, there are several domestic policy issues that could be being taken care of.

    • discourseincsharpminor permalink
      July 25, 2010 3:41 pm

      Sorry, missed your last sentence.

  17. June 22, 2013 3:12 pm

    asshat that’s not nice to say.


  1. Elizabeth Warren Whacks Obama’s Wall Street Efforts | WestPenn Journal

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