September 17, 2010

Crapo: Another Czar Cuts Public Out of the Loop

Consumer agency adviser to receive no hearings or questions

Washington, D.C. - The latest appointment by President Obama has created yet another unaccountable policy czar who will face no public vetting before filling the position. Idaho Senator Mike Crapo, a member of the Senate Banking Committee, today questioned the process behind the President's decision to appoint Elizabeth Warren as a "special adviser" to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and adviser to the White House. Warren would presumably work with the new Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection, which is part of the Financial Reform legislation passed earlier this year.

"The czar appointment is a backdoor way of putting Ms. Warren in charge of the agency without having her confirmed by the Senate," Crapo said. "She will be charged with setting up the new Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection by recruiting employees, setting its mission, and beginning the process of writing rules.
"The Administration wanted an independent agency and a singular head of the agency, but is now avoiding nominating an individual to come before the Senate for a thorough confirmation debate. This is far too important of a position to leave to a completely unaccountable individual.

"This move demonstrates the agency will not be independent, but political. It also raises the question about the ability of the new agency to move forward with new rules since there is not an agency head to approve any final rules. When is the Administration going to nominate someone to head the agency?

"This circumvents Congress and the Constitutional check-and-balances with essentially creating another White House policy czar. Many of us opposed providing the Bureau with an enormous taxpayer-provided funding source without Congressional oversight of its budget and this action will further remove the Bureau from meaningful Congressional oversight," Crapo concluded.

According to Wikipedia records, The Obama Administration has now appointed 34 policy czars that have not been subjected to Senate confirmation or questioning. That would set an all-time high for any President, dating back to Franklin D. Roosevelt, who appointed 33 czars without Senate confirmation.