This is not a good way for what had been a pretty decent, progressive career to end. Chris Dodd is continuing to press the attack on Elizabethe Warren he started a few weeks ago. When the "she's not confirmable" idea wasn't taking hold, he started in on "she's not management material." He's been keeping that drumbeat going "in interviews with Bloomberg News, Dow Jones, TPMDC, the Hartford Courant and American Banker, among others," but there's a rub here.
But it's the first time Chairman Dodd has publicly raised such an issue when it came to evaluating presidential nominees to agency positions under the banking committee's purview.
A review of transcripts from past confirmation hearings shows that Dodd has never questioned the management experience of nominees to head federal agencies his committee oversees. The heads of the Securities and Exchange Commission, Department of Housing and Urban Development, Federal Housing Administration, the Export-Import Bank and the National Credit Union Administration all survived hearings under Dodd's chairmanship without him once asking a question about the experience needed to guide their respective agencies.
Nor did Dodd raise any management questions when prospective bank regulators came before his committee -- even when the regulators did not have significant management experience. In the two years prior to his assuming the chairmanship in 2007, the heads of the Federal Reserve, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, Office of Thrift Supervision, Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, and a prior chief of the SEC all came before his committee. Each time, Dodd declined to ask about their experience running bureaucracies, a review of transcripts shows.
In fact, Dodd didn't even show up for two of those hearings....
Dodd never raised similar questions when it came to bank regulators' perceived lack of management experience. For instance, Dugan and Bair had top positions in the Treasury Department, but neither ran an organization on their own. Cox was an attorney and longtime member of Congress, but he, too, never oversaw a bureaucracy.
Dodd didn't speak on the record at Bair's confirmation hearing, nor did he submit any written questions for the record, documents show.
Dodd, through a spokesman, declined to comment for this article.
Dodd could be carrying the water for other Senate Dems who would prefer not to see a really tough watchdog in this position, or it could be his last legislative favor to an industry where he might be thinking he ends up after leaving the Senate. Either way, it's not doing his legacy much good, particularly after this examination of his record. Perhaps if he'd been willing to subject the bank regulators' management experience to the same scrutiny as Elizabeth Warren, we wouldn't so urgently need a consumer watchdog in Treasury.