President Trump Wants Power to Fire the Head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau – New American
Written by Bob Adelmann
When PHH Financial, a mortgage lender, was fined $109 million by the head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), it filed suit against the agency for overreaching its prerogatives. It also demanded that the court dismantle the agency altogether. A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled last fall that, indeed, Richard Cordray, the CFPB’s director, did overreach, but that dismantling the agency was itself too much to ask.
Last Friday Trump’s Department of Justice (DOJ) made an unusual move in the case, which has been appealed to the full bench by filing an amicus brief. Said DOJ officials: “Because a single agency head is unchecked by the constraints of group decision-making among members appointed by different presidents, there is a greater risk that an ‘independent’ agency, headed by a single person, will engage in extreme departures from the president’s executive policy.”
This is how a lawyer complicates the simplest thing: The CFPB’s head is not accountable to anyone. Its funding comes from the Federal Reserve where the agency is housed. Cordray cannot be fired, except for the grossest mismanagement. He is, in other words, immune from any oversight by the president, Congress, or the courts. He is a rogue head of a rogue agency.
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