This Robert Litan guy it seems deviated from the Party Line, and Strobe Talbott (my old boss at the Yale Daily News) followed Warren’s orders and executed him.
The Wall Street Journal tells the sad story:
President Obama has let Elizabeth Warren veto presidential appointments, and the power rush seems to have gone to her head. Now the Massachusetts Senator has forced the resignation of a Brookings Institution economist because he dared to report that new financial regulations will cost investors.
Robert Litan, a Democrat who has been affiliated with Brookings for decades, is nobodyâ€™s idea of a conservative. And heâ€™s not philosophically opposed to financial regulation. He was among the first to endorse Ms. Warrenâ€™s proposal for an independent agency to protect financial customers. It was a terrible idea that has become worse in its execution. The 2010 Dodd-Frank law created the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the rest is overbearing bureaucratic history. But the point is that Mr. Litan was an ally of Ms. Warren before her election to the Senate.
Sheâ€™s not the sentimental type. In July Mr. Litan told the Senate about his research into a Labor Department plan to force investors to move from brokers to fiduciaries. Mr. Litan testified that â€œthe benefits of the rule do not outweigh its costs. In fact, during a future market downturn, we estimate the rule could cost investors as much as $80 billion.â€
He added that â€œthe notion that all retirement investment advisers should be held to a best interest of client standard is not controversial. Itâ€™s the way the Department proposes to implement it, which because of its costs and risks, will lead to many clients going without an adviser, or if they are able to retain one, only at substantially higher costs.â€
Ms. Warren likes the Labor plan because it provides more work for bureaucrats and trial lawyers. So more than two months after the hearing, still unable to rebut Mr. Litanâ€™s economics, she has attempted an assassination of his character. In a letter to Brookings President Strobe Talbott, Ms. Warren accused Mr. Litan of, among other things, â€œvagueâ€ disclosure regarding the funding of his research.
Vague? Hereâ€™s the note about funding that appears on the first page of his prepared testimony, which is available on the Senate website: â€œThe study was supported by the Capital Group, one of the largest mutual fund asset managers in the United States.â€ Did Ms. Warren provide that much clarity in describing her own corporate legal clients prior to her 2012 election?
Brookings is telling reporters that Mr. Litan violated a rule of the think tank. As a non-resident fellow, he was not supposed to be identified as a Brookings scholar when he testified on the Hill. But weâ€™re told that the rule is a recent creation and that when Mr. Litan realized his mistake after the July hearing, he apologizedâ€”and that Brookings didnâ€™t have a problem with it until this weekâ€™s letter from Senator Warren.
Remind us never to share a foxhole with Mr. Talbott. We also wonder how Brookings scholars and donors feel about letting a Democratic Senator bully their institution into stifling independent research. And what is former Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke doing at Brookings while heâ€™s also a senior adviser to Citadel, the giant hedge fund?