A couple of media sources reported Tuesday that the White House is poised to nominate Oklahoma native Elizabeth Warren to lead the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
Neither report — one from Forbes.com and a tweet from The Nation Editor Katrina vanden Heuvel — directly quoted a source, attributing the news to "White House signals" or just the White House.
If Warren wins the appointment — and that's a big if — she would wield a big regulator stick in Washington. However, in a recent interview with The Oklahoman, the Harvard law professor said political power is something she never aspired to hold.
"I never looked for power, and I certainly never looked to work in Washington," she said. "I never angled a career around that. Wouldn't it be clever to become a professor so I could end up in Washington? For me, it's about, is this a place where I can actually do some good? If I can do some good, it makes sense. If I can't, then it doesn't."
Warren faces stiff opposition from financial insiders and others who argue she would be an activist and that she lacks sufficient management experience. The New York Times recently quoted Roger Beverage, head of the Oklahoma Bankers Association, as noting that Warren and those he represents have "a different world view."
Warren doesn't hide her desire to tilt the financial playing field more toward consumers. The new agency's first tool, she said, will be "a pair of scissors" that will trim power from seven existing bureaucracies and better represent average Americans.
Warren, frankly, doesn't enjoy the trappings of Washington, where she currently serves as chair of the Congressional Oversight Panel charged with reviewing the financial system and overseeing the Treasury Department's implementation of the Troubled Asset Relief Program.
"No. But it's important. Sometimes you just do the things because you think they're important," she said. "For me, the whole bureaucracy, the whole administrative work, it's about supporting what I really care about, which is the economic security of middle-class families."
Despite the attention she has gained during the recent weeks of intense backroom lobbying, Warren has no intention of a career change.
"I think this has come along too late for me to turn into a politician. I sure hope so," she said. "I don't think I could if I wanted to be. I've mouthed off far too many times for far too long on far too many subjects to be acceptable in the way that a good politician would have to be."
To learn more about her, go to