Sen. Baldwin: Calls for strong consumer protection advocate at CFPB

Contact: press@baldwin.senate.gov
(202) 224 – 6225

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin, along with 43 of her colleagues, is urging President Donald Trump to swiftly nominate a strong consumer protection advocate to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) who will put working families ahead of Wall Street.

In a letter, led by Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Senator Gary Peters (D-MI), the Senators also expressed serious concerns with the White House decision to install Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director Mick Mulvaney as part-time acting director of the agency. Mulvaney has a clear record opposing the CFPB and has sought to abolish it.

“Through aggressive enforcement and supervision, CFPB actions have resulted in $12 billion in relief for more than 29 million American consumers who were cheated by financial companies,” the Senators wrote. “Assigning leadership of the CFPB to someone who already has a full-time job reporting to the White House and who does not believe in the CFPB’s mission jeopardizes the agency’s independence and effectiveness. We urge you to nominate a CFPB Director who will bring to the job both bipartisan support and a track record of being tough on Wall Street.”

The CFPB was created as part of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act following the financial crisis that began in 2007 to ensure that bad actors on Wall Street would be held accountable for fraudulent or predatory practices that take advantage of middle class Americans. Since its creation, the CFPB has helped more than 17 million Americans receive over $11 billion in relief from illegal and unfair financial practices.

The following Senators also signed the letter: Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Patty Murray (D-WA), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Ed Markey (D-MA), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Tom Udall (D-NM), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Mark Warner (D-VA), Jack Reed (D-RI), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Al Franken (D-MN), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Jon Tester (D-MT), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Bob Casey (D-PA), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Chris Coons (D-DE), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Tom Carper (D-DE), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Joe Donnelly (D-IN), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Kamala Harris (D-CA) and Bill Nelson (D-FL).

An online version of this release is available here.

The text of the letter is copied below and available here.

December 4, 2017

The Honorable Donald J. Trump
President
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, D.C. 20500

Dear President Trump,

After the 2008 financial crisis wiped out trillions of dollars of wealth and the jobs of millions of Americans, Congress passed important financial reforms and created the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), an independent watchdog to protect people from financial scams.[1]

Through aggressive enforcement and supervision, CFPB actions have resulted in $12 billion in relief for more than 29 million American consumers who were cheated by financial companies.[2] The CFPB has taken almost 200 enforcement actions: against mortgage schemes that rip off struggling borrowers, against predatory financial firms that set up shop next to military bases to target servicemembers, against scam for-profit schools that take advantage of veterans’ benefits, and against companies that train their employees to trap consumers in debt.[3]

These are the enforcement results that the National Fraternal Order of Police and a bipartisan group of state attorneys general expected when they endorsed Rich Cordray’s nomination and said he would be “an effective partner in combating fraud and other illegal schemes[.]”[4]

His nomination passed the Senate with 66 votes, including 12 Republicans.[5]

In a 2016 campaign speech, you said “…[T]his election is a choice between taking our government back from the special interests, or surrendering our last scrap of independence to their total and complete control.”[6] Polling shows that the vast majority of Americans agree that the CFPB has been doing great work holding special interests accountable. 74% of Americans — Republicans and Democrats — approve of the CFPB’s mission and 55% of Republicans who voted for you believe that the CFPB should be left alone to do its work or even be given expanded authority to do more.[7]

Assigning leadership of the CFPB to someone who already has a full-time job reporting to the White House and who does not believe in the CFPB’s mission jeopardizes the agency’s independence and effectiveness. We urge you to nominate a CFPB Director who will bring to the job both bipartisan support and a track record of being tough on big banks and other financial firms that rip off consumers. Following the Dodd-Frank succession provision and nominating a Director who will fight for consumers allows the CFPB to continue its work without political interference.

Please stand up for American military servicemembers and veterans, students, seniors and workers.

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