New CFPB Director Spent Entire Confirmation Process Stonewalling, Then Her Swearing-In Was a Private, Industry Only Affair, Now She’s Kicking Cameras and Electronic Media Out of Her First Press Availability
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, newly-confirmed CFPB Director Kathy Kraninger will have her first media “availability” but television and still cameras will be kicked out after the first five minutes. Kraninger’s swearing-in yesterday was a private, industry-only ceremony.
The unusual secrecy follows Kraninger’s confirmation process where she refused to answer basic questions about her record or consumer financial issues and stonewalled the release of documents from her time in the Trump administration.
“She won’t answer questions. She won’t release documents. She let industry attend her swearing in but not the public. Now she’s forcing important members of the media out of the room during her first press availability as CFPB director. What is Kathy Kraninger hiding,” asked Karl Frisch, executive director of Allied Progress.
He added, “This is not how a CFPB director committed to transparency and accountability operates. We deserve better.”
Before her confirmation, Allied Progress published “Eight Simple Questions CFPB Nominee Kathy Kraninger Has Yet To Answer.” Today marks the first opportunity media will have to get answers to these important questions – too bad cameras will be forced out of the room.
Kraninger’s Curious Definition of Transparency
Kathy Kraninger Spent Most Of Her Confirmation Process Stonewalling Senators And The American People.
Before Her Confirmation Hearing, Senate Democrats Requested Documents Regarding Kraninger’s Tenure at OMB… They Received None Of Them.
Senator Sherrod Brown Said That Kraninger “Has Not Responded To Several Document Requests From Committee Democrats” Before Her Confirmation Hearing. “[…] she has not responded to several document requests from committee Democrats, and was evasive in her answers to questions at her confirmation hearing.” [Press Release, Sen. Sherrod Brown, 08/01/18]
Senator Elizabeth Warren Claimed That Kraninger Did Not Provide The Documents Requested By Senate Banking Committee Members. “Warren said in Wednesday’s letter that the answers were not sufficiently detailed and that Kraninger had failed to hand over relevant documents.” [Katanga Johnson, “Senate panel delays vote on Trump consumer watchdog pick,” Reuters, 08/01/18]
Then During Her Actual Confirmation Hearing, Kraninger Stonewalled Senators And Refused To Comment On Anything Substantive About Her Work For The Trump Administration.
Kraninger “Repeatedly Dodged Questions” During Her Confirmation Hearing. “Kathy Kraninger, President Trump’s nominee to lead the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, repeatedly dodged questions from Senate Democrats on Thursday about issues facing the watchdog agency and her involvement in the administration’s ‘zero-tolerance’ immigration policy.” [Renae Merle,” Trump CFPB nominee grilled by Senate Democrats,” The Washington Post, 07/19/18]
- When asked about Hurricane Maria by Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Kraninger wouldn’t address her role in providing disaster funds as part of the response in Puerto Rico. When asked about the matter, Kraninger responded that she didn’t “‘think it was appropriate to characterize…advice’” she gave to the administration. [Nomination Hearing, Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee, 07/19/18]
- When asked by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) whether she had a role in implementing Trump’s family separation immigration policy, Kraninger refused to answer. Kraninger said she didn’t “‘want to characterize the advice’” she gave to the Administration. [Nomination Hearing, Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee, 07/19/18]
- Kraninger was also asked by Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI) if she thought that separating children from their parents deterred border crossings, Kraninger once again refused to answer. Kraninger said that she didn’t “‘want to talk about’” the policy and that she didn’t “‘want to characterize the internal conversations.’” [Nomination Hearing, Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee, 07/19/18]
- Kraninger also wouldn’t tell Sen. Warren if she participated in any planning on how to reunify children who were taken from their parents calling it a “slippery slope” towards characterizing her advice. Senator Warren attempted to ask Kraninger if she was involved in creating a plan to reunite children who had been separated from their parents. Kraninger said she couldn’t “characterize [her] advice” and said answering would become “a slippery slope in terms of characterizing the advice that was provided.” [Nomination Hearing, Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee, 07/19/18]
- Finally, Kraninger would not even tell Sen. Warren whether she thought tearing children away from their parents was immoral. Elizabeth Warren asked Kathy Kraninger if she thought it was immoral to inflict pain on children as “a tough deterrent” to illegal immigration. Kraninger responded saying there are “many heartbreaking stories that appear in the news,” but ultimately said it wasn’t “appropriate to provide her internal opinion on internal deliberations or discussions on this matter.” [Nomination Hearing, Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee, 07/19/18]
When questioned by Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI), Kraninger refused to even characterize what categories or types of advice she gave at OMB. Senator Brian Schatz asked Kraninger to explain “what categories” of advice she provided while she was at OMB. In response, Kraninger refused to give a straight answer, instead referring to OMB’s role in the policymaking process broadly, which she said “characterize[ed]” her role. Schatz then asked Kraninger, “Why the third person?” To which Kraninger responded by once again demurring noting that she was “responsible for [her] staff” and “provid[ed] advice to the Director. [Nomination Hearing, Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee, 07/19/18]
Allied Progress Even Had To Go To Court To Try To Get The Trump Administration To Turn Over Records On Kraninger.
Allied Progress Has Had to Go to Court to Try to Compel the Trump Administration to Release Records on Kraninger. The Case Is Ongoing. [Merle, Renae, “Advocacy group sues for CFPB nominee’s work records,” Washington Post, 07/25/18]
After Her Confirmation As CFPB Director, Kraninger Held A Private, Industry-Only, Swearing-In Ceremony, And Her First Press Event Is An Off-Camera Q&A.
Kraninger’s Swearing-In Ceremony Was Closed To The Public And The Press… But Not To The Right-Wing Heritage Action Or The Texas Bankers Association.
Kraninger’s Swearing-In Ceremony Was Not Open To The Public Or The Press. On December 10, 2018, Sylvan Lane of The Hill reported that, Vice President Mike “Pence will swear in Kathy Kraninger to be the next CFPB director at 5 p.m. today, per his schedule. The event is closed press and the CFPB did not respond to prior questions about its installation of its new leader.” [Tweet from Sylvan Lane, Twitter.com, 12/10/18]
- However, Heritage Action’s Vice President, Jessica Anderson, Attended The Event. [Tweet from Jessica Anderson, com, 12/10/18]
- Chris Furlow, CEO of the Texas Bankers Association Was Also Present For Kraninger’s Swearing In. [Tweet From Chris Furlow, com, 12/10/18]
At Kraninger’s First Press Availability, The CFPB Is Only Allowing Reporters To Record For The First Five Minutes Of The Event
At Kraninger’s First Press Availability Reporters Are Only Allowed To Record The First Five Minutes Of The Event. An announcement for Kraninger’s first media availability included the following ground rules: “Pen and pad Q&A with accredited media only. Members of the press attending must have a White House or congressional media credential. Electronic media will only be permitted during the first five minutes of the news availability. This includes still photographers and video.” [“MEDIA ADVISORY/Press availability for new BCFP Director Kathy Kraninger,” E-Mail From Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, 12/11/18]
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