Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) turned Thursday’s Senate confirmation hearings on Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) nominee Kathy Kraninger political.
The Trump administration provided Warren with this opportunity for hypocritical moral preening by nominating a candidate for the position who has no experience in banking or consumer finance regulation, but does have extensive experience as a mid-level official in the Department of Homeland Security, and currently serves as associate director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).
Mick Mulvaney, the director of the OMB, where he is Kraninger’s boss, has also served as acting director of the CFPB, given that temporary appointment in November when former director Richard Cordray, a protegé and ally of Elizabeth Warren, resigned to run for governor of Ohio. Cordray is now the Democrat nominee for that office in this November’s election.
“It is a moral stain that will follow you for the rest of your life. If you are given a big promotion it will be a stain on the Senators who do it,” Warren told Kraninger during the bitterly partisan hearing, referencing the Trump administration’s policy of separating children from accompanying adults who cross the border together illegally.
“It is not appropriate to give my opinion,” Kraninger responded when Warren asked her for her opinion about the Trump administration’s border and immigration policy.
C-SPAN provided a seven minute video of Warren’s questioning of Kraninger at the hearing in this tweet:
.@SenWarren asks @CFPB Nominee about her role & thoughts about Trump administration’s child separation policy. Warren concludes exchange “It is fundamentally immoral and you – you were part of it, Ms. Kraninger. It is a moral stain that will follow you for the rest of your life.” pic.twitter.com/tZlegMi3je
— CSPAN (@cspan) July 19, 2018
Warren, who advanced her own professional career by making false claims of Native American ancestry, demonstrated her lack of seriousness and political posturing by leading with this line of inquiry, because it has nothing to do with Kraninger’s qualifications to head the CFPB, an agency which Warren’s academic research was the basis for establishing.
Gavin Clarkson, a Harvard Law School graduate and a citizen of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, criticized Warren after the hearing ended because “she ignored the role that the CFPB she personally designed and constructed has played in eliminating economic development opportunities for tribes, and keeping people ‘on the res’ impoverished,” in her questions of Kraninger.
“At today’s confirmation hearing, Sen. Warren had an opportunity to stick up for Native Americans— something she supposedly wants to do with all her ‘I’m leaning into the Pocahontas attack’,” Clarkson, a former president of the Native American Law Students Association, said.
Clarkson, who is the Republican nominee for Secretary of State in New Mexico, said:
To her credit, Ms. Kraninger did note that it would be ‘helpful’ for ‘struggling Americans’ to have more competition in the small dollar lending space, a need that tribes can and already are helping to fulfill, even if the CFPB under Richard Cordray did virtually everything in its power to prevent them from doing so, and keep Native Americans out of the financial services space and socio-economically marginalized. This, along with supporting more energy development on tribal lands, is another meaningful way in which, if Ms. Kraninger is confirmed, the Trump administration will help to lift up Native American communities instead of keeping them stuck in what is now centuries of poverty and de facto isolation, much of which has occurred thanks to Democratic policies that Sen. Warren and her fellow partisans have supported,
Before the hearings, Victoria Finkle, writing at the Bankshot column of the American Banker, identified “three of the most important questions [Kraninger] will face.”
- Are you qualified to oversee this agency despite a lack of financial services or consumer finance experience?
- Can you explain your involvement in the White House’s “zero-tolerance” policy?
- What’s the appropriate role for government when it comes to consumer protection?
J.W. Verret, Associate Professor of Law (teaching Law and Accounting, Corporate, Securities & Banking Law) at George Mason University’s Antonin Scalia Law School, and a critic of the selection of Kraninger as the nominee to head the CFPB, offered this assessment to Breitbart News of her performance at Thursday’s hearings.
“The nominee demonstrated skill in the Washington game of short sound bites and deflection,” Verret told Breitbart News in an emailed statement.
“The nominee demonstrated no working knowledge of consumer protection issues. Nor did the nominee show any appreciation for the fight for consumer access to credit products that many of us fought for over a decade. I remain concerned about the nominee’s lack of experience,” he concluded.
Earlier in the hearing, Kraninger gave her boss at the OMB, who also serves as acting director of the CFPB, a thumbs up for the job he has done at the agency his appointment in November, as the Associated Press reported, “In response to a question from Sen. Jon Tester, D-Montana, Kraninger said “I would say yes” when asked whether she approves of Mulvaney’s work at the bureau.
In advance of Thursday’s hearing, The Washington Post reported:
In her first public statements since being nominated by President Trump to lead the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Kathy Kraninger on Thursday offered lawmakers broad assurances that the bureau would be “fair and transparent” under her leadership — but will give few specifics, according to prepared testimony.
As director of the watchdog agency, Kraninger told the Senate Banking Committee, she would work closely with other regulators to go after fraudsters and use cost-benefit analysis when considering new rules. But she dodged questions from lawmakers on some of the most of the controversial issues facing the agency, including whether it should roll back regulations on payday lenders.
“While I will not prejudge and cannot predict every decision that will come before me as director, if confirmed, I can assure you that I will focus solely on serving the American people,” Kraninger said.
Auto Finance News reported,”today’s Senate hearing provided a slight glimpse into her views on rulemaking and how she would apply it to the auto finance space.”
Senator Pat Toomey (R-PA) used his time to ask Kraninger about former director Richard Cordray’s use of guidance to affect change in the auto finance industry.
“Under the previous regime the CFPB engaged in imposing policies that had the effect of being a rule without going through the Administrative Procedures Act,” Toomey said during the hearing. “The indirect auto lending case was such a case where the guidance was the mechanism they used to impose what should have gone through the rulemaking process, never did, Congress recognized that and had such repealed it. Will you commit to using the administrative procedures act when enacting new rules?”
Kraninger responded, “Yes, it’s critical for the process.”
Kraninger gave minimal color to her answers and often refused to give her opinion on pressing issues facing the bureau, yet she did give yes or no responses to various topics.
The far left and the entire Democrat Party is united in their opposition to Kraninger’s nomination, based on the expectation that should she be confirmed to a five year term as CFPB director, she will continue to implement the Trump agenda in the manner her current boss, Mick Mulvaney, has done since he took over the reins there in November.
Kraninger’s answers today gave Democrats no reason to believe that she would diverge from the Trump/Mulvaney agenda should she be confirmed at CFPB, but they also gave little comfort to critics who say her lack of experience or track record in consumer finance or banking regulation provide no indication as to how she will manage the agency as director, where she is accountable to no one, be they President Trump or Mick Mulvaney.