News that Fits

Bloomberg:  Former SEC Commissioner Paul Atkins Joins TARP Oversight Panel.

      Paul Atkins, a former Securities and Exchange Commission member, is joining the panel set up by Congress to monitor the $700 billion financial bailout.

     Atkins, a Republican, takes the seat of ex-Senator John Sununu, who stepped down this month. The Congressional Oversight Panel is led by Harvard Law School professor Elizabeth Warren. Three of its members are named by Democrats and two by Republicans.

     The group issues monthly reports on the Troubled Asset Relief Program and holds public hearings. Recently, its Republican members have criticized the panel for keeping transcripts of its weekly business meetings secret and for refusing to set a budget.

     “I’m looking forward to working with my new colleagues to protect the taxpayers’ interest and oversee the TARP,” Atkins said today in an interview.

     Atkins, 51, was an SEC commissioner from 2002 to 2008, appointed by President George W. Bush. He clashed frequently with fellow Republican and the agency’s then-chairman William Donaldson over issues such as regulating hedge funds and the size of corporate penalties.

     The group, which has no authority to set policy about the rescue effort, is one of several entities that oversee the TARP, including a committee headed by Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke, the Government Accountability Office and a special inspector general.

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