Elizabeth Warren for Attorney General

Elizabeth Warren for Attorney General

Sen. Kamala Harris’s selection to be the Democratic vice presidential nominee last month led to  speculation about which stars from the primaries may end up in Joe Biden’s administration if he wins in November. One person who’s received a lot of attention is Sen. Elizabeth Warren. Some say Warren should stay in the Senate, and perhaps become Senate Majority Leader, and others have suggested that Warren become Treasury Secretary.

Though Warren has shown the ability to bridge the divide between centrists and progressives, leading the Senate could be a waste of her passion, as she would have to focus her energy on uniting these factions rather than simply fighting for what she thinks is the best path forward. It also seems unlikely at this point that she would be able to snatch that position from Sen. Chuck Schumer. Progressives generally see Schumer as feckless and a poor communicator, but he’s built ample support within his caucus as an effective fundraiser, hasn’t made any glaring errors and is likely to become Majority Leader if Democrats win the chamber.

Many on the left have expressed concern over the idea of Warren leaving the Senate because Massachusetts has a Republican governor who would pick her replacement. However, that’s not necessarily true. First of all, even if he did get to put a Republican in that seat, there would be a special election within five months that would almost surely be won by a Democrat. More importantly, the Massachusetts legislature is known for changing the rules to make sure Democratic Senate seats stay Democratic, so the seat could stay blue either way.

So the question that remains is where she’d best fit. There is some appeal to making Warren Treasury secretary, but I don’t think it’s the best role for her in a Biden administration. In that position, Warren would be doing everything from enforcing federal tax and finance laws to overseeing Wall St. to managing the country’s debt. While it would be great to have a progressive in this role, it would limit her power. She could influence America’s economic policy and possibly rein in Wall St. to some degree, Treasury isn’t an independent agency and  she would ultimately be implementing Biden’s plans.

If Warren does join the Biden administration, Attorney General would be a position where she’d have wide-ranging powers and a lot of independence. Before becoming a senator, Warren was an influential legal scholar, so she knows this country’s laws well. She built and helped run the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and scored wins against major financial institutions that were cheating Americans. As a senator, Warren led an investigation into Wells Fargo creating millions of fake checking and savings accounts and essentially forced its CEO at the time, John Stumpf, to resign. During the primaries, Warren released a major anti-corruption plan that laid out how she would hold members of the Trump administration who have broken the law accountable.

Warren knows how to lead investigations, can run an agency and already has plans to fight back against corruption in the government and the private sector.  With the help of a team of seasoned prosecutors, Warren would be able to effect change in ways she never could as a senator. Instead of simply demanding a corrupt CEO resign, she could determine what laws they’ve broken and put them before a judge.

She would have the freedom to investigate corruption in Washington and on Wall Street. Biden has maintained that he will not try to interfere with or influence Justice Department probes if he becomes president, so she could investigate and prosecute as she sees fit. As Warren often says, corruption is one of the main causes of our problems in America, so we need someone to root it out.

Elizabeth Warren would make a great Senate Majority Leader or Treasury Secretary, but only as Attorney General would she have the power to unilaterally develop and implement a plan to hold corrupt government officials and corporate executives accountable. If Biden is going to take Warren out of the Senate, he should put her in charge of the Department of Justice.

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