On Friday November 14, Harvard Law School Professor Elizabeth Warren was appointed to a five-member congressional oversight panel that will monitor the Treasury’s economic rescue plan and report back to Congress. Warren was one of three experts nominated by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to the bi-partisan panel.

The panel will examine the Treasury Department’s plans for the $700 billion economic bailout package, known as the Treasury Department’s Trouble Asset Relief Program (TARP), which was passed by Congress last month. So far, the Treasury Department has allocated $290 billion of the TARP funds–$250 billion to banks and another $40 billion to the large insurance company American International Group Inc.

Yesterday, the Treasury Department announced a shift in the focus of the bailout funds from buying troubled mortgage securities to buying preferred shares in healthy banks. This reallocation brought further attention to the panel’s role as watchdog over the Treasury Department.

The oversight panel will deliver monthly reports to Congress, as well as a final report by January 20 on the effectiveness of the regulatory structure now governing the country’s financial system.

Warren joins Richard H. Neiman, superintendant of banks in New York, and Damon Silvers, AFL-CIO associate general counsel, on the panel. The Republican leadership named Senator Judd Gregg (R-N.H.) and Representative Jeb Hensnarling (R-Texas) to fill out the five-member panel.