Republican staff: CFPB director slowing down Wells Fargo account scandal investigation

Lawmakers should prepare to hold Cordray in contempt

Republican representatives released a staff report on Tuesday, outlining the alleged failure of Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Richard Cordray in investigating the massive Wells Fargo fake account scandal.

According to an article in The Wall Street Journal by Yuka Hayashi, “Republican staff for the House Financial Services Committee alleged that Mr. Cordray didn’t comply with the committee’s request for records to help its probe.”

From the WSJ:

“Due to CFPB Director Richard Cordray’s failure to honor his legal obligation to produce all records responsive to the committee’s subpoena, the committee’s Wells Fargo investigation is at an impasse. Key questions remain unanswered,” the report said. It recommended that lawmakers take steps “up to and including preparing for possible contempt proceedings against director Cordray should they prove necessary.”

The staff report comes from the House Financial Service Committee’s subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, which is chaired by Rep. Ann Wagner, R-Mo.

The report puts into writing some of the frustration Wagner long voiced in hearings over the Wells Fargo scandal.

For example, back in April, during a heated exchange in the bureau’s semi-annual hearing in front of the House Financial Service Committee, Wagner grilled Director Richard Cordray on the bureau’s lack of initiative in the massive Wells Fargo fake account scandal.

Wagner spent her time during the hearing arguing that the CFPB touts it “independent and comprehensive” review in the Wells Fargo case, and yet they only interviewed three people.

“This does not seem very comprehensive to me sir,” said Wagner. “The CFPB was asleep at the wheel. Your investigation was far from independent and comprehensive.”

Now two months later and the Oversight and Investigations released a report stating the CFPB has not cooperated with the committee’s investigation after multiple attempts and requests to produce records.

As a result, the staff recommended that Financial Services Chairman Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, “issue deposition subpoenas to CFPB employees to investigate Director Cordray’s default” and “to prepare to, if necessary, initiate contempt proceedings against Director Cordray unless the CFPB produces all responsive records.”

The call to possibly hold Cordray in contempt comes amid growing calls to have Cordray fired, including calls from Hensaling.

However, until otherwise noted, Cordray is set to stay in his position until his term ends in July 2018.


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