A group of 21 Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives has written a letter to President-elect Donald Trump asking him not to remove Richard Cordray as Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
In October, a three-judge panel in the Washington, D.C. Circuit Court gave the president power to remove the Bureau’s Director without cause. A retrial, requested by the CFPB, is pending. The CFPB’s supporters have expressed concern that the Trump Administration, which begins on January 20, will attempt to reform the Bureau or change its structure.
Cordray, who has been the Bureau’s Director since its inception in July 2011, is in the middle of a term that expires in July 2018.
“Any attempts to remove Director Cordray from his position are without historical precedent, and intended solely to distract the Director and the Bureau from its important work protecting servicemembers, students and other borrowers from financial predation,” the lawmakers wrote in the letter. “We caution you not to engage in partisan litigation, particularly since it is likely to be unsuccessful and will needlessly divert government resources away from other important priorities.”
The letter’s top two signees were Rep. Maxine Waters (D-California), Ranking Member of the House Financial Services Committee and one of the Bureau’s staunchest supporters, and Carolyn Maloney (D-New York).
“The CFPB, under the leadership of Director Cordray, has been invaluable for those in Congress who are the most passionate about promoting equitable lending and fair financial practices for all Americans,” said Congressman Al Green (D-Texas), one of the 21 Congress members to sign the letter. “I trust that for the rest of his term Director Cordray will remain at the forefront of the charge to educate consumers and protect them from invidious discrimination.”
The Bureau has been a source of controversy, particularly in the mortgage industry, since it was launched five and a half years ago. The CFPB’s detractors claim it is an unaccountable agency that has overregulated the industry; its supporters point to the more than $27 billion it has returned to more than 12 million consumers the Bureau deems to have been financially harmed.
“It’s clear to us that Director Cordray has made significant strides in upholding our nation’s consumer protection laws and managing the complicated issues of diversity and inclusion at his agency,” the House Democrats wrote in their letter. “He has done this despite repeated attempts by special interests to undermine, roll back, and limit his work and authority.”
Click here to view the letter and a list of the signees.
The Democrats' letter was sent on the same day (January 9) as another letter, this one signed by U.S. Senators Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Ben Sasse (R-Nebraska) to Vice President-elect Mike Pence requesting that Cordray be removed.
“It's time to fire King Richard,” said Sasse, a member of the Senate Banking Committee. “Underneath the CFPB's Orwellian acronym is an attack on the American idea that the people who write our laws are accountable to the American people. President-elect Trump has the authority to remove Mr. Cordray and that's exactly what the American people deserve.”
Lee stated, “The Constitution was written to protect the American people from unelected and unaccountable bureaucrats. Considering the damage CFPB has done to credit unions and community banks, President Trump should act quickly to remove the director.”
Click here to view the full text of the Senators' letter.