President Barack Obama has nominated a California professor, Helen Elizabeth Garrett, as his Assistant Treasury Secretary for Tax Policy.

In this position, she is expected to work with Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and Internal Revenue Service Commissioner Douglas Shulman on the tax aspects of President Obama’s policies.

As vice president for academic planning and budget at the University of Southern California, Professor Garrett oversees resource allocation and manages the university's academic programs and priorities. She also is co-director of the USC-Caltech Center for the Study of Law and Politics and serves on the board of the Initiative and Referendum Institute at USC.

In January 2005, she was appointed to President George W. Bush's nine-member bipartisan Advisory Panel on Federal Tax Reform, which issued its report in November 2005. She also serves as chair of the finance committee of the national governing board of Common Cause. Professor Garrett graduated from the University of Oklahoma and University of Virginia Law School.

She clerked for Justice Thurgood Marshall on the Supreme Court and Judge Williams on the Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, and served as legal counsel and legislative assistant for tax, budget and welfare reform issues for former U.S. Senator David L. Boren, D-Okla. Before joining USC Law in 2003, she was a professor at the University of Chicago Law School, where she also served as deputy dean for academic affairs.

Mark Weinberger, the current global vice chairman of tax for Ernst & Young, held the position of Assistant Treasury Secretary for Tax Policy during the first Bush administration. He issued a statement of support for Garrett’s nomination. “Beth is a strong choice,” he said. “She has a solid policy background and has done extensive work in tax, budget and legislative process. She is very smart, incredibly hard working and a very quick study.  She will have a tough job at a tough time. I am confident that she will bring a balanced view to the job, build a strong team and outreach to all stakeholders.”


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