Monday, February 14, 2011, 10:01 AM

Director Search Begins In Earnest

Posted by: Chris Jones

First, a plug. One of the many things that writing a blog brings into focus is that there are many, many "news" outlets whose primary goal seems to be talking, even when there is apparenlty nothing to say. It takes some time, but the real leaders, those with foresight and access, and those who actually say something when they talk, can be found. Boomberg Businessweek at is one of those outlets. Here at BB&R, we have linked to Bloomberg more often than to any other single outlet. And we recommend that you read it, assuming that you have time after reading us.
Of late, Bloomberg recently reported that Elizabeth Warren has begun the search for a Consumer Finance Protection Bureau Director. While the early reports are that no job offers have been extended, and the White House has been quick to indicate that it is nowhere near ready to announce a nominee, Ms. Warren's first meetings have been with three prominent State Attorneys General, including Roy Cooper of North Carolina, Tom Miller of Iowa and Martha Coakley of Massachusetts. The word is that Ms. Warren was seeking counsel on the type of experience or qualificationst that a CFPB director should have.
As we said, Bloomberg is a great news outlet, but it is exactly that...a news outlet. That means that the good reporters there get tips, confirmations, quotes and report the facts. We are not encumbered by such an onerous process. And, while Bloomberg is relegated to saying that the "implication [of such meetings] is that an attorney general could be a leading candidate," we say... Really? No kidding? A law is passed that specifically contemplates, and effectively requires, communication and cooperation between a new federal agency and the offices of 50 State attorneys general; enforcement is one of the agency's primary missions; and we are to believe that a State Attorney General could be a good candidate? Perhaps even at least as qualified as a Harvard law professor or a former member of Congress? And, to think, this notion seems to have arisen even after Ms. Warren tapped Richard Cordray as the Bureau's chief enforcement officer? To this notion we say...uh, yeah. Assuming that the politics will work, it would be entirely consistent with all that has happened to date if President Obama were to nominate a State attorney general to run the agency. Further to that thought, it is naieve to believe that Ms. Warren: (a) did not take Generals Cooper, Miller and Coakley's temperature on their willingness to serve; and/or (b) seek their opinions as to who should be nominated (i.e. who they believe that they can work with effectively).
If nothing else, Ms. Warren's recent meetings, and the others that she is sure to have in coming weeks and months, is continuing evidence of a concerted enforcement coordination effort. So, while we cannot see the tidal wave just yet, it sure does appear that the waves are breaking a bit farther out than normal. It may be time to start looking for high ground.


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