Amid Senate Rumors, Warren Heads Back to Cambridge

Alan C. Chiu

Harvard Law School Professor Elizabeth Warren speaks to the Harvard Law School Class of 2009 during its Class Day Exercises in June 2009.

Professor Elizabeth Warren will return to Harvard Law School from Washington D.C. next month, the Treasury Department announced Tuesday.

News of Warren’s Harvard homecoming comes two weeks after President Obama announced that Warren had been passed over as the inaugural director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which she is largely credited with creating.

Warren took leave from the Law School in 2010 to help create the bureau, which was drawn up by Congress in the wake of the economic crisis to more effectively regulate the financial industry.

“Professor Warren has done an extraordinary job standing up the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Her efforts to simplify mortgage and credit card disclosures, protect military families from abusive and deceptive financial practices, and bring aboard top talent like Richard Cordray and Raj Date have built a strong foundation for the Bureau’s future success,” Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner said in a statement.

Warren may not be in Cambridge for long as Democratic Party leaders are trying to recruit Warren to run against Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown for his seat in the U.S. Senate in 2012.

Democrats say Warren could beat Brown because of her high-profile status and reputation as a fearless, straight-talking consumer rights' advocate. And as the leader of the effort to crack down on the financial industry, Warren has garnered high praise from Democrats and vehement criticism from Republicans.

Mere rumors of a Senate run has already led liberal groups to start stocking a political war chest; the Progressive Change Campaign Committee has raised more than $50,000 for Warren in the past few weeks.

In the meantime, Warren will join a plethora of Harvard professors and students who have served in the Obama Administration. Law School professors Laurence H. Tribe ’62 and Daniel J. Meltzer '72 returned to Harvard from the Obama Administration last year.

The announcement from the Treasury that Warren will return to Cambridge was part of an announcement regarding the transition process for the CFPB. According to the Treasury, Warren's deputy Raj Date will take over as special adviser to the bureau. Richard Cordray, a former Ohio attorney general, has been tapped to lead the agency, but he is likely to face a tough confirmation fight in the Senate.

Republican Senators have said that they oppose the Obama administration's nominee unless the White House agrees to changes that would strip the bureau of some of its power.

—Staff writer Caroline M. McKay can be reached at carolinemckay@college.harvard.edu.

CORRECTION: JULY 27, 2011

The July 27 article "Amid Senate Rumors, Warren Heads Back to Cambridge" incorrectly stated the Law School Professor Charles Fried worked in the Obama Administration. Fried was solicitor general during the Reagan administration.

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