The uncertain future of Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Richard Cordray isn’t stopping President-elect Donald Trump from weighing his options for a future director to oversee the financial regulator.
Trump met with former Rep. Randy Neugebauer, R-Texas, on Wednesday and is considering Neugebauer to run the CFPB, Trump spokesman Sean Spicer confirmed on a Thursday call with reporters, according to an article in The Huffington Post by Ben Walsh and Ryan Grim.
The article noted that a source close to the transition team told HuffPost that Neugebauer has yet to be offered the job, but that no other candidates are being looked at yet.
Neugebauer’s ties to the CFPB go way back, and he was one of the original proponents against the unusual power of the CFPB.
When the bureau was looking for a director back in 2011, Neugebauer expressed his concerns over the agency’s lack of oversight, a concern that’s plagued the agency since its creation.
At the time, before the bureau had a director, Neugebauer tried to pass a law that would merge the CFPB into the Treasury Department.
"Given the significant and perhaps over-regulating powers the CFPB has been given by the Obama administration, Congress must have a say on the appropriation of taxpayer money funding this agency’s operation," Neugebauer said at the time. “The CFPB is currently under the purview of the Federal Reserve Board. Neugebauer said moving the agency will allow Congress to examine the CFPB's actions and their effects on the overall market.”
In order for Neugebauer to take over the CFPB, however, several situations would need to play out.
PHH’s landmark victory against the CFPB is still in a standstill as the D.C. Court of Appeals reviews the CFPB’s request for an en banc review. But if PHH wins, part of the ruling allows the president to remove the director at any time for any reason.
Or, if the situation doesn’t go this way, politicians are also trying to go a different route to get Cordray removed as director. Under the current law, the president may remove the director for “inefficiency, neglect of duty, or malfeasance in office.”
An article from the American Constitution Society for Law and Policy, however, noted that no president has removed an appointee for cause. “Most presidents have not attempted it and the three times a president has tried to remove an official with for-cause protections—on the ground that the for-cause protection were invalid (not that there was cause for removals)—the courts stopped the president from doing so.” The group urged that Cordray shouldn’t be the first.
And Cordray shows no signs that he plans on leaving on his own accord. CFPB spokesperson Jen Howard said in a statement, “Director Cordray was confirmed by a bipartisan group of 66 senators to serve a term until July 2018 and has no plans to step down.”