Paul S. Atkins ‘83, a former member of the Securities and Exchange Commission, was appointed to the congressional panel overseeing the $700 billion financial bailout in August by Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-KY. Atkins filled a vacancy on the panel created after former Senator John Sununu, R-NH, stepped down in July.
Atkins was appointed by President George W. Bush to serve as one of five commissioners on the Security and Exchange Commission in 2002 and served until 2008. He has previously held staff positions at the SEC.
In an interview, Atkins told the Associated Press that he looked forward to helping the oversight panel ensure the taxpayer money is serving its purpose, and that taxpayers will get their money back. He said his experience as a regulator, a lawyer on corporate finance deals and a compliance consultant would help him to ask the right questions.
Atkins said the panel’s most important job was to help Congress answer questions from constituents about how the bailouts are being handled. The four-member bailout panel was created as part of the Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP. It is designed to provide an additional layer of oversight, beyond the Special Inspector General for the TARP and regular audits by the Government Accountability Office. The panel has issued a series of reports on the government’s financial bailout programs, raising questions about their management and oversight.
The panel is headed by Elizabeth Warren, a professor at Harvard Law School, and also Richard Neiman, superintendent of banks at the New York State Banking Department; and Damon Silvers, associate counsel at the AFL-CIO, in addition to Atkins.