Posted on | May 25, 2011 | 4 Comments
Harvard Law professor Elizabeth Warren, a special advisor to President Obama, got raked over the coals yesterday by Rep. Patrick McHenry and other Republicans:
A House committee hearing on Tuesday about the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau disintegrated into heated accusations of lying, with the panel’s chairman accusing Elizabeth Warren of giving misleading testimony at a hearing in March and of making up facts about her agreement to testify this week.
Representative Patrick T. McHenry, a North Carolina Republican who is chairman of a subcommittee of the House oversight committee, told Ms. Warren, who is directing the start of the consumer agency, that he believed she had misled Congress about her role in settlement talks between government authorities and mortgage servicing companies. . . . .
After an hour in which Ms. Warren repeatedly parried efforts by Mr. McHenry and other Republicans to pin her down with “yes or no” answers to questions about her March testimony — and about the bureau’s powers and responsibilities — Mr. McHenry abruptly moved for a temporarily recess so lawmakers could attend a floor vote.
Ms. Warren objected, saying that she had agreed to be present for only an hour and had no more time. . . .
It was at that point that the following exchange took place:
Warren claimed that they had agreed to work around her schedule, and that she had important meetings to attend . . . What meeting might Warren have that would be more important than a Congressional hearing into the activities of her agency?
(Via Memeorandum.) Permit me to observe that, if Obama is going to put Harvard Law faculty in charge of economic policy, perhaps he should appoint some economists to the Justice Department. Just to be fair.
UPDATE: The meeting that Elizabeth Warren was so insistent on attending may have had a political purpose:
Sen. Scott Brown, R-Mass., who is fending off criticism from members of his own party for publicly opposing a GOP plan to overhaul Medicare, could face a potential challenge to his seat from the woman appointed by President Obama to run a controversial agency designed to protect consumers from bank abuses.
Elizabeth Warren, a Harvard law professor who is anathema to Republicans for her fierce criticism of the banks, reportedly is being recruited by Democrats to run for the seat that was held by Ted Kennedy for nearly half a century. Brown surprised Democrats by winning the seat in a special election in January 2010. He is up for re-election in 2012. . . .
The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) would not confirm that it is wooing Warren to run nor would a spokesman deny it.
Was Warren supposed to be meeting with Chuck Schumer and the DSCC staff to discuss the Massachusetts election? And if so, did McHenry and his colleagues know it?