WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship Ranking Member Olympia J. Snowe (R-Maine) yesterday, in a letter, urged the newly appointed Chief Counsel for the Small Business Administration (SBA) Office of Advocacy, Dr. Winslow Sargeant, to advocate for fairness and transparency on behalf of small businesses. Senator Snowe recommended Dr. Sargeant focus on ensuring that the voice of small business is heard during the federal regulatory process.

“It is absolutely critical – particularly during a time of transition in leadership – that the SBA’s Office of Advocacy continue to forcefully and proactively represent the interests of America’s small businesses,” said Senator Snowe.  “The Office of Advocacy must be the government’s watchdog for these vital firms, and with implementation of the financial regulatory reform bill looming, the SBA simply cannot sit on the sidelines.  Indeed, it must actively protect small businesses by monitoring the effectiveness of the CFPB’s review panels, and I wrote to Dr. Sargeant to impress upon him the significant nature of his office’s mission.”

In her letter, to Dr. Sargeant, Senator Snowe requested specific plans as to how his office will ensure the newly created Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) properly and effectively utilizes the small business advocacy review panels it is required to convene under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (H.R. 4173).  During consideration of the financial regulatory reform bill, Senator Snowe offered an amendment (S.A. 3883) to create these panels in order to help ensure small business fairness and regulatory transparency at the new agency.  This amendment was cosponsored by Senators Mark Pryor (D-Ark.), Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), Al Franken (D-Minn.), Kit Bond (R-Mo.), Roland Burris (D-Ill.), and John Thune (R-S.D.).

A copy of the letter is may be found below.