Elizabeth Warren returning to Harvard

Elizabeth Warren's tenure as the face of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) will come to a close at the end of the month.

The Treasury Department announced Tuesday that Warren will return to her work as a professor at Harvard Law School beginning Aug. 1. Replacing her as the president's special assistant on the CFPB and de facto head of the agency will be Raj Date, who was brought on by Warren to be associated director of research, markets and regulations at the bureau.

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President Obama recently nominated Richard Cordray, the former Ohio attorney general who is in charge of the CFPB's enforcement work, to be director of the bureau as a whole. He likely will face a tough confirmation battle as Senate Republicans are vowing to block any nominee to head the bureau.

Meanwhile, speculation continues to swirl that Warren could mount a campaign to replace Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) as senator in 2012. Senate Democrats have courted Warren for the job, but so far she has merely said she will think about the proposition.

"Professor Warren has done an extraordinary job standing up the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Her efforts to simplify mortgage and credit card disclosures, protect military families from abusive and deceptive financial practices, and bring aboard top talent like Richard Cordray and Raj Date have built a strong foundation for the Bureau’s future success,” said Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner in a statement. “Raj has an impressive background in financial services, academia, government, and non-profit organizations, and I am pleased that he will serve in this new capacity as the CFPB continues moving forward with its important work.”

Warren became a political lightning rod since she began her push for a bureau devoted to consumer financial products. She received the intense support of many liberals both in and out of the government, while also being subject to particular scrutiny and scorn by conservatives and congressional Republicans. The president ultimately passed over Warren to be the CFPB's first director in part because her outspoken nature had made her a contentious candidate for what was sure to be a contentious position.