Ad Twists Elizabeth Warren’s Role as TARP Watchdog

Dec 8, 2011 6:13pm

A conservative advocacy group today released a TV ad that twists Elizabeth Warren’s role as a Congressionally-appointed watchdog of the TARP Wall Street bailout, attempting instead to paint her as a big-government bailout supporter.

A tight race is expected between Democratic challenger Elizabeth Warren and Republican incumbent Scott Brown in the Massachusetts Senate race. The primary in that state is not until September, but Warren is the heavy favorite to face Brown next November.

Crossroads GPS, an advocacy group backed by conservative strategist Karl Rove, unveiled the ad Thursday which underscores Warren’s tenure as the head of the Congressional Oversight Panel, which Congress appointed to oversee the implementation of the TARP bailout.

It was the Treasury Department that actually doled out bailout funds, but the ad suggests that Warren deserved blame for bailing them out too.

“Congress had Warren oversee how your tax dollars were spent bailing out the same banks that helped cause the financial meltdown, bailouts that helped pay big bonuses to bank executives while middle class Americans lost out,” the ad’s narrator says. “Tell Professor Warren we need jobs, not more bailouts and bigger government.”

What the ad doesn’t mention is that the Congressional Oversight Panel, under Warren, became known for reports that were critical of the way the Treasury Department implemented the bailout program, who received funds, and the lack of transparency.

Read the Congressional Oversight Panel’s final report.

Warren, who has painted herself as someone who fights for the middle class, pushed back against the ad. Her spokesman, Kyle Sullivan, points out in a statement that she has been “an outspoken critic of the bank bailout and it’s blank check to Wall Street.”

“That’s just one fact that makes these ads ridiculous,” Sullivan said in the statement. “The Wall Street bankers financing these attacks are desperate to stop Elizabeth Warren because she’s worked so hard to stop Wall Street from ripping off middle class families.”

Warren recently returned to Massachusetts after working with the Obama Administration to create the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which aims to prevent the subprime lending practices that led to the financial meltdown.

Senate Republicans today blocked the confirmation of Richard Cordray, the man President Obama appointed to head the consumer protection bureau. Brown, Warren’s senate race opponent, was the only Republican who voted in favor of Cordray’s  confirmation, a decision that could bode well for him in neck-in-neck Senate race considering there is widespread support for the CFPB.

In a Consumer Reports poll in July, 74 percent of respondents said they strongly or somewhat supported it.

Brown, who was one of few Republicans who voted in favor of the Dodd-Frank bill that created the CFPB, said in a statement before the vote that Cordray deserves an “up or down vote.” Senate GOP leadership has vowed to block the confirmation until the bureau is restructured to diffuse power away from one chairman.

“Having a leader at the helm is critical at a time when the agency is getting up and running,” Brown said in the statement. “The unfortunate truth is that there are still bad actors in the financial system who will take advantage of vulnerable people in our society.”

Since November Crossroads GPS has spent more than $1 million on this and another ad attacking Warren for supporting the Occupy Wall Street protests. The group, along with its affiliate American Crossroads, has dropped more than $20 million lambasting Democrats and the president so far this year, the Hill reports

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