Warren’s clout grows

The clout of Sen. Elizabeth Warren continues to grow in Washington, as Wall Street banker Antonio Weiss asked the president to withdraw his nomination for a top job at the Treasury Department in the face of opposition from the Massachusetts senator and other progressives.

Warren opposed Weiss for three reasons. She felt his background wasn’t suitable. He was the head of global investment banking at Lazard but was vying for the job of under secretary of domestic finance at the Treasury Department, a position overseeing Dodd-Frank, which is under attack from Republicans. She felt his firm’s work on corporate inversions, particularly Burger King’s defection to Canada, was unacceptable. And she felt too many Wall Street executives were moving into influential positions in the Obama administration.

“It tells people that one — and only one — point of view will dominate economic policymaking,” she wrote in a November op-ed for the Huffington Post. “It tells people that whatever goes wrong in this economy, the Wall Street banks will be protected first. That’s yet another advantage that Wall Street just doesn’t need.”

Politico called Weiss’s withdrawal a win for Warren. Others described Weiss’s withdrawal as the Washington equivalent of taking a scalp. Warren herself said she was just leveling the playing field in Washington. “The risk of another financial crisis remains too high, and we should be strengthening financial reforms, not rolling them back to benefit Wall Street,” she said.

The White House and Treasury Secretary Jack Lew, himself a former Citigroup executive who Warren voted for, called the opposition to Weiss “not justified.” And Tony Fratto, a former Treasury official in the administration of George W. Bush who currently works at Hamilton Place Strategies, said Warren had “cowed the Democratic Party into allowing her to be the litmus test for the staff of the president of the United States.”

While Warren won the confirmation battle, she didn’t prevent Weiss from working at Treasury. Weiss pulled his nomination, but at the same time he accepted a job as counselor to Lew on international and domestic matters, a position that doesn’t require Senate confirmation.

–BRUCE MOHL

BEACON HILL

Gov. Charlie Baker plans to spend most of his State House time working in smaller office near the governor’s ornate official digs, reserving the spacious — and newly renovated — official office for ceremonial gatherings or larger meetings.

The Baker administration signals a new direction on energy policy with three appointments, CommonWealth reports.

Lowell Sun columnist Peter Lucas urges Baker to give Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito a high-profile assignment, perhaps the fight against opioid addiction.

The state hiring freeze implemented by Baker doesn’t apply to higher education, the Salem News reports.

MUNICIPAL MATTERS

The Herald reports that Mayor Marty Walsh has asked Boston city department heads to prepare budgets that include a 5 percent cut.

The Malden company cited by OSHA for the Back Bay fire that killed two firemen has its fines reduced by $16,000, WBUR reports.

The Legislature has approved a home rule petition for Dartmouth to use retired police officers for traffic details.

Brockton city councilors continue to meet behind closed doors to discuss their suit against a proposed power plant, once again rejecting claims they are violating the state’s Open Meeting Laws.

CASINOS

Three last-minute bidders for the remaining state casino license in the southeast region, including one financial backer for a potential casino at the Brockton Fairgrounds, have submitted background information to the state’s Gaming Commission ahead of the January 30 deadline for applying.

OLYMPICS

Though Olympics backers say they’ll make no run on public dollars, they admit that a Boston Games would need at least $1 billion — perhaps more — in federal funding for security operations.

Boston mayor Marty Walsh is getting some blowback from waving off the idea of a voter referendum on an Olympics bid at the same time that he’s suing the state gambling commission to demand that exact thing when it comes to the proposed casino in Everett. In the Herald, Alex Reimer calls it the “height of hypocrisy,” while the Globe’s Kevin Cullen says Walsh’s stance “doesn’t make any sense.”

Former gubernatorial candidate Evan Falchuk, chairman of the newly recognized United Independent Party, tells Greater Boston why a Boston Olympics would be a “boondoggle.”

“A child of Dracut” came up with the idea for a Boston Olympics.

The MetroWest Daily News urges everyone to keep an open mind on the subject.

No Boston Olympics, the grass-roots group opposed to a Boston Olympics, says interest in its work has soared, a claim also being made by boosters of the bid. All of which seems only to mean that last week’s news has caused people of all opinions to now take the idea much more seriously.

INTERNATIONAL/NATIONAL POLITICS/WASHINGTON

VA data show spending disparities between states and even within states, NPR reports.

Democrats unveil a new plan to boost the middle class, Governing reports.

The satirical French newspaper Charlie Hebdo, which was the target of a terrorist attack last week that killed 12 people, has come out with this week’s cover that features a cartoon of the prophet Muhammad holding a sign that reads “Je suis Charlie” (“I am Charlie”).

ELECTIONS

Once you’re done chortling over the idea of a third Mitt Romney run for president, you can settle down and come to the terms with the fact that he is probably the best positioned of any would-be GOP candidate, especially when it comes to New Hampshire.

“Will smiling with one eye and crying with the other” help Romney become 45?

BUSINESS/ECONOMY

Informal community “lending circles” are getting more formally organized by nonprofits, including one in Lawrence.

EDUCATION

Chelmsford schools may be facing a new $700,000 deficit, the Lowell Sun reports.

HEALTH CARE

The Veterans Administration will open a new clinic in North Quincy to replace the one that was closed at Quincy Medical Center when Steward Health Care Systems shut down the hospital last month.

Partners HealthCare is crying poor mouth after posting its first loss in 15 years.

Health insurers and pharmacy benefits managers cut deals with hepatitis C drug manufacturers to get better deals. The hepatitis C drugs have been costing more than $94,000 for a course of treatment, Reuters reports.

TRANSPORTATION

Suspicion smoke and fire related accidents in the Washington and New York subways will occupy investigators over the next several days.

ENERGY/ENVIRONMENT

All the hype about higher electricity prices this winter is fizzing out, as warmer temperatures and plentiful natural gas are keep prices down. Most homeowners, who locked their winter prices in last year, aren’t benefitting from the low rates, CommonWealth reports.

A new 50,000-square-foot recycling facility opens in Peabody, the Salem News reports.

The director of the Buttonwood Park Zoo in New Bedford disputed the facility’s inclusion for the fifth year in a row on the list of the world’s 10 worst zoos for elephants based on an international group’s allegations that the zoo mistreated the two Asian elephants in its keep.

CRIMINAL JUSTICE

The Supreme Judicial Court has ruled that Suffolk County prosecutors cannot scrutinize a cellphone former Patriots player Aaron Hernandez gave to his lawyer in order to seek legal advice concerning it.

Charles and David Koch are putting their money behind criminal justice and prison reform, The Daily Beast reports.

A lawyer who prosecuted Mark Wahlberg 26 years ago argues against his petition for a pardon, saying he can seek forgiveness and apologize, but record of his hate crime shouldn’t be wiped from the records.

The Quincy man accused of lying to investigators about his relationship with accused Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev will change his plea to guilty, according to a court filing.

Meet the Author

Bruce Mohl

Editor, CommonWealth

About Bruce Mohl

Bruce Mohl is the editor of CommonWealth magazine. Bruce came to CommonWealth from the Boston Globe, where he spent nearly 30 years in a wide variety of positions covering business and politics. He covered the Massachusetts State House and served as the Globe’s State House bureau chief in the late 1980s. He also reported for the Globe’s Spotlight Team, winning a Loeb award in 1992 for coverage of conflicts of interest in the state’s pension system. He served as the Globe’s political editor in 1994 and went on to cover consumer issues for the newspaper. At CommonWealth, Bruce helped launch the magazine’s website and has written about a wide range of issues with a special focus on politics, tax policy, energy, and gambling. Bruce is a graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He lives in Dorchester.

About Bruce Mohl

Bruce Mohl is the editor of CommonWealth magazine. Bruce came to CommonWealth from the Boston Globe, where he spent nearly 30 years in a wide variety of positions covering business and politics. He covered the Massachusetts State House and served as the Globe’s State House bureau chief in the late 1980s. He also reported for the Globe’s Spotlight Team, winning a Loeb award in 1992 for coverage of conflicts of interest in the state’s pension system. He served as the Globe’s political editor in 1994 and went on to cover consumer issues for the newspaper. At CommonWealth, Bruce helped launch the magazine’s website and has written about a wide range of issues with a special focus on politics, tax policy, energy, and gambling. Bruce is a graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He lives in Dorchester.

MEDIA

Prosecutors will not call New York Times reporter James Risen to testify in the trial of a former CIA officer charged with leaking confidential information about a botched operation in Iran, ending a seven-year legal battle by the Obama administration to force Risen to reveal his sources.