Consumer bureau alums at center of Bloomberg's gun-control push

Two former members of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) are playing a major role in the battle over gun control.
Earlier this year, Megan Lewis and Nick Rathod left the new federal bureau and joined Mayors Against Illegal Guns, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s campaign for stricter gun laws.

Lewis serves as the organization’s director of law and public policy, while Rathod is its director of state advocacy. They are among more than a dozen officials to leave the CFPB since January.

“After [the shootings at an elementary school in] Newtown — I have children of my own, I felt it in my stomach in the way I haven’t felt about an issue in years,” Rathod said in a telephone interview with The Hill from New York.

He joined the CFPB in September 2011 and worked as its assistant director for intergovernmental and international affairs until leaving this April.

“Nothing like this had been done since the New Deal,” he said of the CFPB. “At the beginning, there was a clear mandate and a vision, and as time went on you began to see less and less of that.”

That’s when he got a call from Bloomberg’s chief advisor, John Feinblatt, asking if he would consider working for the group and overseeing its state-level strategy to pass tougher gun control legislation.

“It was something I couldn’t turn down,” Rathod recalled.

“I feel a little more fire in the belly about the issues I’m working now than what I was doing before,” he says.

At the CFPB, Lewis worked as a senior counsel for enforcement strategy for the northeast region of the U.S.

Rathod left the agency around the same time to join Mayors Against Illegal Guns, but said it wasn’t a coordinated move with Lewis. The two became friends during their time at the CFPB, he said.

While going out for coffee one day, they realized they had been talking to the same people at Bloomberg’s organization.

“I thought, ‘If we’re both going there, it’s really going to be a better endeavor,’ ” Rathod said.

Moira Vahey, CFPB spokeswoman said in an email that the agency appreciates having both career and shorter-term staffers.

“We believe our work benefits from both a constant flow of new perspectives combined with a strong consistent core and so we want employees from both ends of the spectrum,” she said in an email.  “The bureau's accomplishments to date are a testament to this approach.”