Or why she’s not the head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau: The Woman Who Knew Too Much
Perhaps the most widely watched hearing is the one that took place in September 2009. A video of part of that hearing can still be found on YouTube, under the title “Elizabeth Warren Makes Timmy Geithner Squirm.” It opens with Warren asking the question that was on the minds of many taxpayers: “A.I.G. has received about $70 billion in TARP money, about $100 billion in loans from the Fed. Do you know where the money went?” What followed during the rest of the hearing was the spectacle of the Treasury secretary tripping over his words, his eyes darting around the room as Warren, calm and prosecutorial, kept hammering him with questions. At another hearing, in December 2009, Geithner appeared to be barely able to contain his annoyance, at one point almost shouting at her. Warren’s questioning “was masterful,” says Neil Barofsky, who ran the TARP oversight for Treasury. “She eviscerated him.” But Warren would pay a price for those hearings.
“Geithner hated her,” says a former administration official. Part of it was seen as personal because she had scorched him in public. But the whole thrust of her work on the oversight panel—getting the facts out to the public—was at odds with Geithner’s perceived conviction, shared by the Wall Street establishment, that the details of the banks’ TARP rescue should be hidden from public scrutiny whenever possible in order to give the banks time to recover, an assessment that a Treasury spokesperson disputes, insisting that “Secretary Geithner initiated unprecedented disclosure requirements for financial institutions.”
It’s also why we should make her our Senator. Let’s do it.