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Federal Faces: Orice Williams Brown

By — From the Partnership and for Public Service,

Orice Williams Brown

Managing director, financial markets and community investment, Government Accountability Office (GAO)

Best known for: When members of Congress need information and insights into the effectiveness of the financial laws put in place after the 2008 economic crisis, they regularly turn to the GAO and Orice Williams Brown. Initially as the director and now as managing director of the GAO’s financial markets and community investment section, Brown and her staff have issued dozens of reports examining the flaws and offering recommendations to improve the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) bailout fund, the Wall Street regulatory reform law and initiatives to prevent housing foreclosures.

The topics she and her staff of 130 have investigated have been complex and often politically charged, but Brown has produced an objective analysis for Congress and the public. The GAO has issued reports analyzing the impact of the regulations issued under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, and made recommendations to better coordinate the rulemaking by financial agencies. In June, Brown’s team issued a report that found that federal programs designed to help struggling borrowers avoid home foreclosures were falling short, presenting a major hurdle to the housing market recovery. The report recommended a number of ways that government agencies can improve their efforts to help borrowers. She also had a hand in the first comprehensive audit of the Federal Reserve’s credit facilities established to respond to the financial crisis.

Government work: Brown joined the GAO in 1990 as an evaluator in the agency’s financial markets section, became an assistant director in 1998, a director in 2005 and a managing director in 2011.

Motivation for service: Brown considered working on Wall Street in 1990 after receiving her graduate degree in finance, but landed a job at the GAO instead.

“On my very first assignment, I absolutely fell in love with GAO’s unique mission and role in government. My motivation for staying was helping ensure that taxpayer dollars are used efficiently and effectively.”

Biggest challenge: Ensuring that the demands of the job are met and still having a life. Work demands have increased exponentially since the 2008 financial crisis. “It’s been crazy busy. For me, the biggest challenge has been finding a work-life balance.”

Quote: “We do a lot of research, we consider a variety of views, and we make sure our work is fully supported by the facts. We tell Congress what information we have found. Sometimes they are not happy about it, but they respect what we do.”

— From the Partnership

for Public Service

For a full profile, visit the Fed Page at washingtonpost.com.

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