Cordray: No change for consumer bureau under Trump

Cordray: No change for consumer bureau under Trump
© Greg Nash

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) Director Richard CordrayRichard Adams CordrayConsumers need a hero, not a hack, to head the CFPB Overnight Regulation: Feds push to clarify regs on bump stocks | Interior wants Trump to shrink two more monuments | Navajo Nation sues over monument rollback | FCC won't delay net neutrality vote | Senate panel approves bill easing Dodd-Frank rules Overnight Finance: GOP delays work on funding bill amid conservative demands | Senate panel approves Fed nominee Powell | Dodd-Frank rollback advances | WH disputes report Mueller subpoenaed Trump bank records MORE is showing little sign of easing off the gas as the Trump administration takes hold.

Cordray, who has helmed the CFPB as its first and only director, said Tuesday that he has no intention of stepping down early, despite pressure from Republicans eager to overhaul the 5-year-old agency.

“It really shouldn’t change the job at all,” said Cordray of Trump assuming power. “We have an independent mandate to do what we do and we’ll continue to work to protect consumers.”

Cordray made his comments at an event hosted by The Wall Street Journal.

ADVERTISEMENT
Cordray’s CFPB has long been in GOP crosshairs, as Republicans argue the agency wields too much power with too little oversight. And with President Trump in office, many believe it is that party’s best chance to significantly alter the agency’s course.

But Cordray, whose term does not expire until the middle of 2018, is indicating he has every intention of staying on the job and keeping the CFPB on his preferred course, setting up an inevitable conflict with the GOP in Washington.

He is relying significantly on the CFPB’s status — now in question — as an independent agency to resist efforts to oust him. The Dodd-Frank financial reform law established the CFPB as an independent agency, meaning the president could only remove him “for cause,” meaning some sort of wrongdoing or malfeasance would have to be evident in his work.

Congressional Republicans are currently trying to build the case for firing Cordray, citing some of his regulatory and enforcement work as running beyond his mandate. Cordray defended his work Tuesday and gave no indication that the agency’s agenda will be changing due to the new president.

“If we’re not going to enforce the law aggressively, then what are we saying?” he said. “Our pace needs to be steady and vigorous.”

At the same time, Cordray’s position is under pressure on the legal front, after a panel of appeals court judges ruled in October that the agency’s current structure is unconstitutional. That ruling, which is now pending for review before the full D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, would give the president the power to remove Cordray at will.

Cordray largely dodged those legal questions, and even went so far as to say he did not know yet if one of the Trump administration’s first acts as president — placing a freeze on all ongoing federal rulemaking — applied to his agency.

“We’re still digesting these orders,” he said. “I’ll leave that to the lawyers for now.”