- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 19, 2015

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

It may not play well in Peoria or anywhere else should she enter the White House race. Populist favorite Sen. Elizabeth Warren has been named the 2014 Porker of the Year by Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW), a frugal-minded, non-partisan watchdog group that monitors lawmakers, offices and agencies. The Massachusetts Democrat won the title over six other nominees in a public poll, with 34 percent of the vote.

What put here over the top was a Huffington Post op-ed titled “Coming to a Post Office Near You: Loans You Can Trust?” in which she suggested the U.S. Postal Service be permitted to expand into basic banking services to cure its financial woes. The lawmaker recommended the agency take up “basic bill paying, check cashing and small dollar loans - then it could provide affordable financial services to underserved families, and, at the same time, shore up its own financial footing.”

A previous Inspector General report from the postal service had explored the possibility of having the agency, which does sell money orders, expand into “non-banking services,” such as credit services and savings options.

“While the IG was careful to use the term ‘non-banking services,’ presumably in an attempt to prevent anyone from thinking that USPS was going to turn into a bank, Sen. Warren had no such qualms,” the CAGW points out.

“On February 11, 2015, USPS again earned a spot on the Government Accountability Office’s High Risk List, where it has appeared since 2009. GAO has never suggested that new lines of business represent a viable solution to USPS’s financial problems, and by asserting otherwise, Sen. Warren richly deserves the not-so-coveted title of Porker of the Year,” the CAGW says.

Ms. Warren edged out her closest rival, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Richard Cordray, by 5 percentage points. The other nominees, in order of votes received, were: Sen. Lisa Murkowski, Alaska Republican, (23 percent); Rep. Mike Rogers, Alabama Republican (8 percent); Rep. Anna Eshoo, California Democrat (4 percent); and Former U.S. Chief Information Officer Steven VanRoekel (3 percent).


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