By Karisse Carmack
Maryland Attorney Is Member of Congressional Oversight Committee
Capital News Service
Wednesday, Nov. 19, 2008
WASHINGTON - A labor lawyer from Takoma Park was appointed by Congress Friday as one of the overseers of the nation's $700 billion economic bailout package.
Damon Silvers, associate general counsel of the AFL-CIO, was appointed to the Congressional Oversight Panel by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev.
Silvers will join two other Democratic nominees on the panel: Elizabeth Warren, a Harvard University law professor appointed by Reid, and Richard Neiman, New York's banking superintendant appointed by Pelosi.
The two Republican panelists were appointed Wednesday: Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, was appointed by House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, and Sen. Judd Gregg, R-N.H., was selected by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky.
This is not Silvers' first foray onto Capitol Hill. In March 2002, he testified before the Senate Banking Committee about corporate governance in the wake of Enron's collapse, according a transcript of his speech posted on the AFL-CIO's Web site. He was instrumental in winning severance pay for laid-off Enron workers, according to a biography posted with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
In December 2007, Silvers spoke before the House Committee on Financial Services about foreclosure prevention, according to a text of his speech available on the House's Web site.
During that hearing, Silvers mentioned how members of his organization were personally affected by the nation's subprime crisis.
Silvers also testified in June 2001 before a House Subcommittee on Capital Markets, Insurance and Government Sponsored Enterprise about the quality of the financial advice Americans were receiving, according to a text of his speech from the committee's Web site.
Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson appointed Silvers to the Treasury Advisory Committee on the Auditing Profession, according to the agency's press release.
As a member of that committee, Silvers and 20 other members were responsible for evaluating the financial integrity and recruitment and retention efforts of the auditing industry, according to the release.
The Congressional Oversight Panel was created under the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act the wake of the current economic crisis.
This committee is in charge of analyzing the "impact of the government's asset purchases on financial markets," "the effectiveness of the program mitigating foreclosures," and "the effectiveness of the current regulatory structure in overseeing the financial structure," according to the speaker's office.
The Congressional Oversight Panel is required to submit monthly reports to Congress. They are expected to turn in a report on Jan. 20, 2009, according to the speaker's Web site.