If Republicans win control of Congress and the White House in November, expect conservatives to zero in on trying to eliminate the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
Created by the Dodd-Frank legislation, CFPB is largely exempted from congressional oversight because it is housed in the unaudited Federal Reserve. It’s also able to self-fund through fees it sets and assesses on financial institutions.
But though it’s technically an independent agency, CFPB is turning out to be – surprise! – remarkably in synch with the Obama campaign’s anti-capitalist positions.
Piecing together several months-worth of visitor logs, Mary Kissel at the Wall Street Journal presents strong circumstantial evidence of improper coordination between political branch officers and supposedly neutral bureaucratic administrators.
CFPB chief Richard Cordray has been to an Obama cabinet strategy session. He briefed the press about student loan policy alongside White House Press Secretary Jay Carney and Education Secretary Arne Duncan. He’s also held calls with the White House Chief of Staff for Policy. His subordinates are in frequent contact with White House advisors.
Conservative opponents of CFPB’s unprecedented powers and structure like Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-NC) are taking notice. McHenry sent a letter requesting more details from CFPB officials about its working relationship with the White House. Though that may seem quaint, remember that Darrell Issa’s investigation of Fast and Furious has largely proceeded by letters of inquiry met with silence, denials, and ultimately admissions.
Kissel puts the process into perspective:
Rep. McHenry’s requests will, in all likelihood, be stonewalled too. But that doesn’t mean that the Congressman’s letter is a waste of time. The 2010 Dodd Frank law gave the consumer bureau an unprecedented—and perhaps even unconstitutional—immunity from traditional checks and balances. If Republicans win a Congressional majority come November and want to eliminate the agency, they have to start demonstrating now to the public why that’s necessary. Letters like Rep. McHenry’s are a good start.
It’s good to know someone is doing the yeoman’s work of reining in a small but important part of the federal bureaucracy. If McHenry’s letter helps build a case for dismantling CFPB, conservatives will be thanking him for taking steps like this.