Tuesday, February 19, 2013

The Republican War on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

If "both parties are the same", why are the Republicans trying to destroy the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau?

From Represent.us' Facebook page.

Let's make this very clear: 

It isn't the Democrats or Obama who are trying to destroy or handcuff this new agency- It's the Republicans.

A recent editorial at the New York Times makes this abundantly clear  as it lists three big accomplishments of the CFPB in its first 18 months:

  • It opened an investigation into questionable marketing practices by banks and credit card companies on college campuses, which often take place after undisclosed financial arrangements are made with universities.

The Republicans are fighting the recess appointment of Richard Cordroy as Director tooth and nail in any way possible, including through the federal courts.

Here's a disturbing passage from the editorial:

The consumer bureau has taken seriously its mandate to protect the public from the kinds of abuses that helped lead to the 2009 recession, and it has not been intimidated by the financial industry’s army of lobbyists. That’s what worries Republicans. They can’t prevent the bureau from regulating their financial supporters. Having failed to block the creation of the bureau in the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial reform bill, they are now trying to take away its power by filibuster, and they may well succeed. 

Let's Face It:  The Republicans Don't Want Consumer Protection
Back on February 1st, a cabal of 43 REPUBLICAN Senators complained to the President and vowed to block the appointment of anybody as Director unless their demands to basically strip the agency of its powers were  met.  The agency can't do much of anything without a functioning Director.    (Click the link in this paragraph or the link under the blue photo at the top of the article for more information).

Remember that Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts set up the agency and it was hoped that she would be named Director.  But the Democrats knew that the Republicans would never confirm her as the Director of the agency, so they nominated Cordroy, her able lieutenant and the Ohio Attorney General.  But the Republicans in their letter make it clear that they are "concerned" about the lack of "Congressional oversight" and lack of "normal Democratic controls" over its Director.  In other words, they do not want this agency to have any real authority.. They want it to be under the purview of Congress, despite the fact that most other executive department agencies do NOT answer to Congress, but to the Chief Executive, the President.  

Both Parties are NOT the Same!

Let me make that clear to anybody out there who thinks that "Both parties are the same" or that the "Democrats are in the pockets of the banks just as the Republicans are" or any other similar stupidity:  It's the REPUBLICANS who are blocking the effective functioning of this agency, not the Democrats.  No, the Democrats are not perfect-- but they AREN'T Republicans! 

Follow the Money

Now... let's just see where the money for these Republicans is coming from.  The first two signatories to this letter from the Gang of 43 are (surprise, surprise), Mitch McConnell, Republican Senator from Kentucky, and Mike Crapo, Republican Senator from Idaho.

The top industry donating to McConnell in 2007 through 2012?  Surprise, surprise again!  "Securities and investments" which contributed 1.6 million to McConnell.  according to Open Secrets.  And the top industry donating to Crapo in 2007 through 2012?  Surprise again:  Securities and Investments, which contributed a mere $400,000 to Crapo.  To be fair, Securities and investments (or the employees of securities and investments firms or PACs) contribute to almost every candidate, Republican and Democrat.

But still....The representatives and employees of Securities and investment interests started giving more and more money to Republicans when they decided that they didn't like the regulations that Democrats were increasingly proposing and enacting in 2009 and 2010.

Nope, boys and girls, the two parties are NOT the same, they are NOT both "puppets" of Wall Street, and don't let anybody convince you that they are.

Please check out the comments section as I will add comments, both pro and con, about this situation in the days and weeks to come.


Updates and links from Represent.Us on Facebook:

Public Campaign.org:  Senators Pledging to Block Wall Street Watchdog Have Received $143 Million Financial Industry Cash:
"The 43 U.S. Senators who signed a letter to President Barack Obama pledging to block Richard Cordray’s re-appointment to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) have received nearly $143 million in campaign contributions from the finance, insurance, and real estate sector—those who’d benefit the most from a weakened CFPB."

The Hill: Senate Republicans Renew Blockade of Obama's Consumer Protection Pick 
 "The CFPB as created by the deeply flawed Dodd-Frank Act is one of the least accountable in Washington," said McConnell. "Today’s letter reaffirms a commitment by 43 Senators to fix the poorly thought structure of this agency that has unprecedented reach and control over individual consumer decisions — but an unprecedented lack of oversight and accountability.”...
"The American people need Richard to keep standing up for them," the president said when he made the pick. "And there’s absolutely no excuse for the Senate to wait any longer to confirm him." 
Senate Banking Committee Chairman Tim Johnson (D-S.D.) dismissed the latest GOP pronouncement as "just politics at play." 
"The CFPB enjoys overwhelming public support, and there is no evidence that the bureau is unaccountable and that structural changes are necessary," Johnson said. "The market needs certainty, and blocking Richard Cordray's nomination is a disservice to consumers and industry alike."
How Much Did Other Senators Get From Wall Street?

From a reader:  I want to know how much Wall Street gave the other 57 senators.

I use Open Secrets to check campaign contributions:  Who is contributing what to whom.  But read carefully.  Remember that when names of companies are listed, it is actually employees of those companies that are contributing, not the companies themselves.

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