Former Donald Trump campaign manager Cory Lewandowski said on NBC’s Meet the Press Sunday that new White House Chief of Staff John Kelly should ask President Trump to fire Richard Cordray, the Obama-appointed holdover who heads the controversial Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).
“I think the general should re-look at firing Richard Cordray, the CFPB, he is a person who is now all but running for governor in the state of Ohio and he’s sitting in federal office right now, and I think this general as chief of staff, is going to come in and put a fresh set of eyes on the inner-workings of the White House and making sure the president’s agenda moves,” Lewandowski told host Chuck Todd.
“I have to say, Cory, that was sort of a random thing you just introduced there. What’s with the focus on Mr. Cordray? How is that at the top of the agenda there?” Todd responded.
“I think there’s three things on the agenda. It’s tax reform, it’s building a wall on the southern border, it’s repeal and replace of Obamacare which didn’t get done—but I think Richard Cordray is somebody who is campaigning now for the governor of Ohio, he’s sitting in an office now at the CFPB, and I—you know, it’s my recommendation to the President of the United States to fire Richard Cordrey, and if he wants to run for the governor of Ohio, go do it, but my concern is, you’ve got an unelected bureaucrat sitting in an office right now and I hope that the new chief of staff looks at him moving forward and saying it’s time to act decisively,” Lewandowski pushed back.
Todd was skeptical.
“I have to ask this, considering that you brought this up. Do you have any business interest here? Do you have a client that wants to see this happen?” Todd asked.
“No, no. I have no clients whatsoever. But what I do know, two weeks ago, Richard Cordray through the CFPB passed a rule with the antithesis of, you know, it’s going to be about a trillion dollars worth of arbitration that the government’s going to have to go through now, and he’s an unelected official, he’s announced—all but announced, Chuck, that he’s running for governor of Ohio, and if he wants to run for governor of Ohio, go run for governor of Ohio, but don’t do so while you’re sitting in a federal office right now,” Lewandowski answered.
It has been widely speculated for months that Cordray is just waiting for the right time to leave CFPB to run for the Democratic nomination for governor in his native Ohio in 2018. Cordray was confirmed as director of the CFPB in 2013 and his five-year term is scheduled to expire in July 2018.
Governor John Kasich, a Republican, is term limited from running for re-election.
The constitutionality of the CFPB, established by the 2010 Dodd Frank Act, is currently being questioned in the courts.
“Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., was the intellectual godmother of the CFPB, established in the Dodd-Frank legislation of 2010. She carefully designed it so that it constitutes a thorough violation of the Constitution’s separation of powers doctrine, not answerable to the president, the Congress, or even another so-called independent agency,” former Reagan Administration official Peter Ferrara noted in a recent article at Investor’s Business Daily:
The president cannot remove the director of the CFPB for policy disagreements, but only for “inefficiency, neglect of duty or malfeasance in office.”
Congress does not appropriate funds for the CFPB, so it cannot exercise oversight through its usual power of the purse. The CFPB is funded by a stream of revenue from the Federal Reserve Board.
The Founding Fathers crafted the separation of powers doctrine to prevent abuses of liberty seen in England in the 17th and 18th centuries. They saw tyranny whenever the powers of the executive, legislative and judicial branches were combined in the same government authority.
Cordray’s imperial conduct in the issuance of rules during his tenure at the CFPB has been questioned in the halls of Congress as well as federal courtrooms.
“On Oct. 11, 2016, the DC Circuit Court ruled that this combination of powers in the same agency, and in the hands of one person, is exactly what the Constitution prohibits in its separation of powers doctrine,” Ferrara noted:
In PHH Corporation v. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, PHH was a mortgage company that also sold mortgage reinsurance through a subsidiary providing protection to mortgage insurers who insured risky, low-down-payment mortgages.
This was a longstanding, common practice in the mortgage business, which had long been recognized as legal, as long as the rates charged for the mortgage reinsurance were reasonable, and not inflated in comparison with the risk insured.
But the literally out of control Cordray/Elizabeth Warren CFPB ruled suddenly that PHH’s reinsurance rates, though not providing for excessive, unreasonable, market returns, nevertheless constituted an illegal kickback under the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act.
Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX), Chairman of the House Financial Services Committee and a long-time critic of Cordray’s actions at the CFPB, put it bluntly earlier this month.
Referring to speculation that Cordray intends to run as a Democrat for Ohio’s governor, Hensarling said that if Cordray wants to run the CFPB, “he should first commit to serving his full term. If he will not do so, the honorable course of action would be to resign and leave such decisions to his successor,” the Washington Examiner reported.
Cordray, however, appears to be determined to pass controversial rules that most members of Congress consider regulatory overreach.
Last week, for instance, the House of Representatives voted “to block a controversial rule by the CFPB that would benefit class action trial attorneys and harm consumers” Hensarling’s committee noted.
“Hardworking Americans want something different in their nation’s capital. They want to change the toxic culture in Washington, DC that for far too long has allowed unaccountable bureaucrats to overreach and overregulate. The best way we can change Washington is to begin to drain the bureaucratic swamp. But it’s not easy, because as we’ve seen over the last six months, the swamp fights back,” Hensarling said on the floor of the House opposing the CFPB regulation:
The most recent example of this is a rule issued by one of the swampiest of Washington bureaucracies, the Orwellian-named Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. We all know that this is a rogue agency with a checkered past chock-full of rampant allegations of abuse, racial and gender discrimination, and big government nanny-ism which constantly makes credit more expensive and less available for hardworking Americans. So radical is this agency, and so extreme in lacking accountability, that a three judge panel of the DC Circuit Court of Appeals declared the Bureau’s governing structure unconstitutional.
Now this unaccountable bureaucracy has joined forces in an unholy alliance with one of the Democrat Party’s favorite special interest groups, namely the trial lawyers lobby. And this unholy alliance will specifically deprive consumers of a low-cost, easy way to resolve legal disputes that can be accomplished without hiring trial attorneys.
What the Bureau and the wealthy trial lawyers want is to take away arbitration for consumers and instead force them into class action lawsuits – which, just so happens, to require consumers to hire the very trial lawyers who will benefit most from this rule.
Despite vigorous opposition from Congressional Republicans, Cordray appears interested in staying on at CFPB as long as he can to ram through as many rules as possible before he leaves to run for governor of Ohio.