The U.S. Office of the Special Counsel has ruled that the director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) did not violate federal ethics rules after he reportedly discussed a gubernatorial run in Ohio.
The agency said in a letter released Friday that Richard Cordray had not violated the Hatch Act, which prohibits federal employees from running for elected office.
"The complaints OSC received alleged that you violated the Hatch Act by engaging in preliminary activities regarding a candidacy for governor of Ohio. OSC’s investigation, however, found no evidence that you have engaged in any of the types of preliminary activities directed toward candidacy that would violate the Hatch Act. Accordingly, we are closing our file without further action," the letter read.
Speculation swirled around Cordray, a Democrat, in July after Ohio Supreme Court Justice Bill O'Neill told Cleveland.com that the CFPB director would run for governor, citing a mutual friend.
O'Neill, who is also a Democrat, went on to say he had been considering a run, but wouldn’t run against Cordray.
House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb HensarlingThomas (Jeb) Jeb HensarlingLawmakers battle over future of Ex-Im Bank House passes Ex-Im Bank reboot bill opposed by White House, McConnell Has Congress lost the ability or the will to pass a unanimous bipartisan small business bill? MORE (R-Texas) later requested that the special counsel investigate whether Cordray had violated the act.
Hensarling said in July if a conversation happened, “it may reasonably be construed as evidence that he undertook a campaign to secure a nomination for partisan political office in contravention of the law.”
The conservative group America Rising Squared then filed a formal complaint with the Office of the Special Counsel against Cordray in August calling for a investigation into his alleged Hatch Act violations.
Cordray would enter a crowded field of Democratic candidates if he were to launch a bid to be governor of Ohio.
Democratic candidates include former Rep. Betty Sutton, former Ohio Senate Minority Leader Joe Schiavoni, Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley and former state Rep. Connie Pillich.
Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, Rep. Jim Renacci (R-Ohio), Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor and Secretary of State Jon Husted are among the Republican candidates.