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Consumer Watchdog Runs Against The Clock To Save Itself From Donald Trump

Fri, Nov 18, 2016

A week ahead of the deadline, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureaunbspon Friday appealed a court ruling that could leave the independent watchdog vulnerable to the whims of Presidentelect Donald Trump. The financial agency had until next Friday to contest an October decision that essentially left its director, Richard Cordray, at the mercy of the president. As written, the law that created the bureau largely insulates its director from the White House. But Trumprsquos transition team has already threatened do ldquodismantlerdquo the 2010 DoddFrank Actnbsp enacted in the wake of the Wall Street financial crisis to protect consumers from abusive financial practices. The CFPB, championed by Sen. Elizabeth Warren DMass., also is in the crosshairs of Senate Republicans, who are seizing on Trumprsquos victory to drain the agency of fundingnbspand curtail its authority. Sen. Richard Shelby RAla. told The Huffington Post this week he wouldnrsquot mind seeing the CFPB completely eliminated. Warren, for her part, is sounding the alarm about GOP plans to defang the agency. The real reason Wall St amp their GOP allies are going after the CFPB is because its working too darn well for consumers amp must be stopped.mdash Elizabeth Warren SenWarren November 14, 2016 In the appeal filed Friday, the CFPB asked the full U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit in Washington to set aside its earlier ruling that found the bureaursquosnbspsingledirector structure unconstitutional.nbspThat decision was rendered by a threejudge panel that partly split 2to1. Lawyers for the agency called that ruling ldquodramatic and unprecedented,rdquo and urged the D.C. Circuit to vacate it because it misinterpreted Supreme Court precedent on the power of Congress to set up independent agencies. The lawyers said the casenbspldquomay be the most important separationofpowers case in a generation.rdquo If a majority of the active judges on the D.C. Circuit agrees to rehear the case Chief Judge Merrick Garland has recused himself during the pendency of his Supreme Court nomination the October ruling would be null and the CFPB and consumer advocates would score an early win. A chorus of civil rights, financial reform and legal advocacy organizations praised the CFPBrsquos decision to appeal and Cordray for his leadership since taking office. This may be the most important separationofpowers case in a generation. Lawyers for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau ldquoDirector Cordray has led the Bureau with a steady hand and worked tirelessly with his staff to return billions of dollars back to hardworking people across the country harmed by abusive financial practices,rdquo Mike Calhoun of the Center for Responsible Lendingnbspsaid in a statement. Perhaps the highestprofile enforcement action by the CFPB in recent memory was its recordsetting 100 million fine against Wells Fargo for creating hundreds of thousands of scam accounts for unsuspecting customers. The bank had to pony up an additional 85 million in related sanctions. ldquoTodayrsquos action should serve notice to the entire industry that financial incentive programs, if not monitored carefully, carry serious risks that can have serious legal consequences,rdquo Cordray said in a statement at the time. Trumprsquos transition team is reportedly brainstorming Cordrayrsquos replacement. Deepak Gupta, a consumer rights lawyer who formerly worked at the CFPB, told Reuters last week that the bureaursquos strong work has exposed it to wrath from conservatives. ldquoItrsquos a very fragile thing,rdquo Gupta said. ldquoIt was birthed in controversy and is under constant attack. It may not survive the way we know it through this administration.rdquo This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

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