Congressional Oversight Panel

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See also AIG, mortgage modification and TARP.

Congressional Oversight Panel (COP)

The "Congressional Oversight Panel" was mandated by Title 1, Section 125 of the TARP legislation [1] as an "establishment in the legislative branch."

The Congressional Oversight Panel is charged with the job of reviewing the state of the markets, current regulatory system, and the Treasury Department's management of the Troubled Asset Relief Program. The panel is required to report their findings to Congress every 30 days, counting from the first asset purchase made under the program. The panel must also submit a special report to Congress about regulatory reform on or before January 20, 2009.Amendment to HR 1424 Division A, Section 125.

The Congressional Oversight Panel will cease to exist on December 31, 2009 unless renewed. (Section 125 references Section 120 for its termination date, and section 120 states terminates 12/31/2009 unless renewed by a letter from the Secretary.)

The panel consists of five outside experts appointed as follows:

  • One member chosen by the Speaker of the United States House of Representatives (Nancy Pelosi selected Richard H. Neiman on November 14[2]
  • One member chosen by the minority leader of the House (John Boehner appointed Jeb Hensarling on November 19)[3]
  • One member chosen by the majority leader of the Senate (Harry Reid appointed Elizabeth Warren on November 14)
  • One member chosen by the minority leader of the Senate (Mitch McConnell appointed John E. Sununu on December 17 after his original choice Judd Gregg had "stepped aside" December 1 [4].
  • One member chosen by the Speaker of the House and the majority leader of the Senate, following consultation with the minority leaders of Congress (Damon Silvers [5] was appointed on November 14).

The first meeting of this board was held Wednesday, November 25 and elected Ms. Warren as the chairperson and Damon Silvers as deputy chairperson. As no assets have yet been purchased, (Office of Financial Stability instead chose to provide $250 billion to banks through the Capital Purchase Program) it is not clear whether the requirement to report after 30 days from "first asset purchase" has been violated.

On December 8, 2009 the government’s financial bailout program concluded in a year-end review that, despite flaws and lingering problems, the program “can be credited with stopping an economic panic.” [6]

Also on this date, Rep. Jeb Hensarling stepped down from the panel, submitting his letter of resignation. Hensarling is being replaced with Mark McWatters, a Dallas lawyer and certified public accountant who has served as an advisor to Hensarling. [7].


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