WASHINGTON-Now that Senator Paul Sarbanes (D-Md.) is no longer the chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, the General Accounting Office report he requested may be pushed to the back seat in priority, CUNA Associate General Counsel Mary Dunn commented. “With the changing of the guard at the Senate Banking Committee that does have ramifications for the GAO report. Just from what we’re hearing, it doesn’t look like it’s going to be before late spring, like May or June,” Dunn said. “It may not be as comprehensive as perhaps we once had thought it would be.” GAO Senior Public Affairs Specialist Laura Kopelson explained that requests by chairmen and ranking members are given equal weight. A design commitment is scheduled for the end of the month and by early February GAO may be able to provide a completion date, she said. Dunn emphasized that this does not mean Sarbanes’ interest in the study has diminished. “Certainly Senator Sarbanes, even as the ranking minority member, has considerable clout to determine the scope of the study,” she pointed out. “But it’s also true that the chairman of the committee would also have something to say about that study and it’s just not clear at this point in time what the interest in that study is.” Andrew Gray of the Senate Banking Committee majority staff said, “At this point, we’re still early in the year as far as putting together our agenda and priorities. He looks forward to the results of the study and would be interested in the results.”

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