In the past few days there has been speculation that President Obama would name Harvard law professor Elizabeth Warren to be the interim head of the new Consumer Financial Protection Agency (CFPA) created by the Dodd-Frank financial reform legislation. What did Senator Chris Dodd think of this? TPMDC reports:
In dismissing the rumor last night, though, Senate Banking Committee Chair Chris Dodd — who authored the law — claimed he’d never heard of the interim appointment power.
“I don’t know what it is. I never heard of it before,” said a flabbergasted Dodd to TPMDC. “It’s kind of unique isn’t it?”
Yes it is somewhat unique — the interim appointment would be different than, say, a recess appointment — but the Dodd-Frank legislation provides for interim stewardship of the agency. From TPMDC:
The authority for the Treasury Department to grant an interim appointment — distinct from a “recess appointment” — comes from the financial reform law itself.
To be fair to Senator Dodd, the law does not use the phrase “interim appointment,” but it expressly authorizes the Treasury Secretary to “perform the functions of the Bureau . . . until the Director of the Bureau is confirmed by the Senate.” This authority would entail naming someone to head the agency until an official director could be confirmed by the Senate. Presumably this provision was included for a reason, such as to ensure that the new agency could begin work even if either the President or the Senate drags their feet in naming or confirming a new agency head. But don’t ask Senator Dodd about it. Even though he was lead sponsor on the bill, he can’t be expected to know everything that’s in it.
(Hat tip: Daniel Foster at NRO)