President Obama will appoint Wall Street critic Elizabeth Warren as a special adviser to oversee the creation of a new consumer protection bureau, a Democratic official said today. Warren would report to both the Treasury Department and the White House in a role that would not require Senate confirmation .
The 61-year-old Harvard professor and consumer advocate had been considered the leading candidate to head the bureau itself, but her lack of support in the financial community could have set the stage for contentious Senate hearings. The independent consumer bureau was created under the financial regulatory bill Obama signed into law earlier this year. It will have vast powers to enforce regulations covering mortgages, credit cards, and other financial products. (Read more Elizabeth Warren stories.)