GOP Senators Call for CFPB Director's Ouster

January 13, 2017

In a letter to President-elect Donald Trump this week, two GOP senators called for the removal of Richard Cordray as director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Referring to Cordray as "King Richard," Nebraska Senator Ben Sasse said, "Underneath the CFPB's Orwellian acronym is an attack on the American idea that the people who write our laws are accountable to the American people. President-elect Trump has the authority to remove Mr. Cordray and that's exactly what the American people deserve."

Sasse and Utah Senator Mike Lee, who co-signed the letter, wrote that Cordray has "pursued costly regulatory policies that are radically opposed to the Trump administration’s pro-growth agenda."

Although not mentioned in the senators' letter, the CFPB in recent years has played an active role as a regulator in the higher ed sector. The agency provided aggressive oversight in particular of for-profit colleges and student loan servicers. Although criticized by industry groups, consumer advocates have said the CFPB has played a crucial role in highlighting and ending abuses that were previously only investigated at the state level -- if at all.

Its efforts to investigate the activities of for-profit-college accreditors were blocked in court last year. The agency suffered an even more serious legal setback in October when a federal appeals court ruled that its single-director leadership structure was unconstitutional. (Most federal agencies are run by an appointed commission.) In a letter to Senate leaders last month, banking industry groups called for the creation of a governing board for the agency in light of that ruling and the uncertainty it had created in the regulatory environment.

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