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U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn gets new committee posts

BY CHRIS CASTEEL Modified: January 23, 2009 at 4:17 am •  Published: January 23, 2009
WASHINGTON — Sen. Tom Coburn has landed a seat on the Senate Intelligence Committee and the top Republican spot on a powerful subcommittee known for investigating mismanagement and fraud in the federal government.

Coburn, R-Muskogee, said in an interview that his position on the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations would allow him to delve deeper into issues he has explored as the top Republican on the Federal Financial Management subcommittee.

"I now have subpoena power,” he said.

He said he has already discussed potential investigations with the chairman of the subcommittee, Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich.

"We have some common things we’d like to look at right away,” Coburn said.

He declined to disclose any possible cases.

Coburn has used the financial management panel to investigate waste at numerous federal departments and agencies, and he issued many reports on his findings.

But he said he was often denied documents that he sought.

Coburn said he hopes he can contribute to the work of the Intelligence Committee, which conducts much of its work in secret as it reviews the actions of the nation’s intelligence agencies. He said the committee fits well with his continuing assignments on the Judiciary Committee and the Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs.

Coburn, now in the fifth year of his first Senate term, also sits on the Indian Affairs Committee and the Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions. He said he could have had the top Republican spot on the Indian Affairs Committee, but chose to take the investigations subcommittee spot.