Former consumer bureau director Cordray announces run for Ohio governor

Former consumer bureau director Cordray announces run for Ohio governor
© Greg Nash

Richard CordrayRichard Adams CordrayWatchdog agency must pick a side: Consumers or scammers Watchdog agency must pick a side: Consumers or scammers Kraninger's CFPB gives consumers the tools to help themselves MORE, the former director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), launched his campaign for Ohio governor Tuesday, two weeks after leaving the financial sector watchdog.

Cordray, a Democrat who served as Ohio’s attorney general before joining the CFPB, announced his candidacy at a diner in his hometown, Grove City, Ohio.

The former CFPB director had long been expected to run, but was barred by federal law from campaigning until he left the bureau. Cordray resigned from the CFPB on Nov. 24, two weeks after announcing his intention to leave.

Cordray cited his experience facing challenging “character builders” as CFPB director, Ohio attorney general and state treasurer in a video announcing his campaign.

It begins with footage of President Obama praising Cordray’s work on behalf of consumers as CFPB director. Cordray then recalls his work as the first director of CFPB, which was opposed by a GOP-controlled Congress.

“Being a voice for regular folks wasn’t easy,” Corday said. “Congress, big banks and then the new administration tried to protect their powerful interests. But we didn’t back down.”

Cordray’s announcement video also includes a clip of Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenFive takeaways from first Democratic debate lineup Five takeaways from first Democratic debate lineup Black Economic Alliance official says African-American voters will 'determine who sits in the White House' MORE (D-Mass.), the CFPB’s architect, praising Cordray for returning $12 billion to more than 28 million consumers through bureau enforcement actions.

Republican critics of the CFPB accused Cordray of abusing the agency’s expansive power to boost his political profile ahead of an expected gubernatorial run.

House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb HensarlingThomas (Jeb) Jeb HensarlingHas Congress lost the ability or the will to pass a unanimous bipartisan small business bill? Maxine Waters is the Wall Street sheriff the people deserve Ex-GOP congressman heads to investment bank MORE (R-Texas) filed a complaint with federal watchdogs this summer, asking them to probe whether Cordray violated laws barring executive branch employees from campaigning. The Office of Special Counsel cleared Cordray of any wrongdoing in October.

The Republican Governors Association, the GOP political arm for gubernatorial races, called the former CFPB director "Washington D.C.'s most power-hungry and least accountable bureaucrat."

"For the last five years, Richard Cordray has led an out-of-control CFPB that has been constantly accused of bureaucratic overreach, resistance to transparency, and partisan political activity," the group said. "Cordray’s record proves that he’s unfit to serve as Ohio’s next governor."