37 AGs want Richard Cordray to lead CFPB
Thirty-seven attorneys general sent a letter to the Senate, urging lawmakers to confirm Richard Cordray as director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The CFPB remains in the middle of a year-long sparring match, where lawmakers continue to debate the structure, funding and management of the consumer protection group. Until a director is named, the CFPB remains in a state of limbo. To date, it's unclear how the bureau will flesh out and define mortgage lending rules outlined in the Dodd-Frank Act. In their letter to U.S. senators, the 37 AGs wrote, "[W]e are united in our belief that Mr. Cordray is very well qualified to carry out the responsibilities of this position.” Cordray, himself, is a former Ohio attorney general, who focused a great deal of his time working on mortgage-related issues. When asked about Republican efforts to block and change the structure of the consumer agency, Brian Deese, deputy director of the National Economic Council, said, "I think the fact that you have these attorneys general speaking out is part of a larger effort in which the American public are adding their voices to focus on those 44 senators and the entire Senate." "The CFPB is ultimately both accountable to Congress and the American people," he added. Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff, a Republican, signed the letter supporting Cordray. He said during a White House press conference that "it's important to note not all of us agree with every aspect of Dodd-Frank." But he said, "I, as a Republican, share the same concerns in regards to oversight. We believe in smaller government. This is not about going after everybody, but about making sure those in the financial industry are on a level playing field and that the agencies focus their efforts on the bad actors." But not all AGs are on board. In late September, Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller commended Richard Cordray, the former Ohio AG appointed by President Obama to serve as CFPB director, but Zoeller didn't sign the letter. "Richard is an excellent person to run the thing," he said. Yet, Zoeller admitted he personally declined to sign a letter in support of the director's appointment because he believes the Congress should fix the CFPB's structural issues before a leader is declared. Write to Kerri Panchuk.