The Republican Governors Association is determined to uncover any possible Ohio governor campaign Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Richard Cordray may be secretly working on.
The association filed its second Freedom of Information Act request with the CFPB, asking for records related to Cordray’s potential violation of the Hatch Act while exploring a run for Ohio governor. The act prohibits federal employees and cabinet members from using their official position to influence an election.
According to the FOIA, “In recent weeks, there has been media speculation that CFPB Director Richard Cordray will soon announce his intention on running for governor in Ohio in 2018. A previous FOIA has been submitted for information relevant to whether Mr. Cordray has violated the Hatch Act.”
“However, since that first FOIA was submitted, new revelations about Mr. Cordray’s intent to run for governor have surfaced,” it stated.
This new FOIA includes requests for copies of Cordray’s government-issued cell phone and office phone logs, his schedule from June 2017 and July 2017 that isn’t on the website yet, along with emails to a handful of various people.
The association even noted that it is willing to pay up to $500 to fulfill the request.
“Ohioans deserve to know whether Richard Cordray is using his Consumer Financial Protection Bureau office for political gain at the expense of taxpayers,” said RGA Communications Director Jon Thompson. “If these new revelations are correct, and Cordray did discuss potential gubernatorial debates with Ohio Democrats, he should admit truthfully what he discussed, if he is engaged in prohibited political activity, and why he is so focused on not doing his job.”
RGA filed the first FOIA on Aug. 1, asking for all email correspondence from July 1, 2016, to the present to a long list of email addresses. The first request also asked for Cordray’s schedule and phone log.
And the RGA isn’t alone in this fight. Around the same time, House Financial Services Committee Chairman Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, called for an investigation of Cordray for allegedly violating the Hatch Act.
At issue is whether Cordray was involved in a recent call between Ohio Supreme Court Justice Bill O'Neill and a “mutual friend” who said that Cordray plans to run in Ohio and asked the state’s top elected Democrat to not stand in Cordray’s way.
In a letter sent to the Office of Special Counsel, Hensarling accuses Cordray of potentially consenting to the call between O'Neill and the “mutual friend,” which could be a violation of the Hatch Act.
Cordray is rumored to step down from his position as director of the CFPB after Labor Day, which is Sept. 4.