New Effort from Allied Progress Documents Who Is ‘Weakening the Bureau From Within,’ Exposes Administration’s Corporate Conflicts of Interest
Washington D.C. – As the Trump administration has escalated its efforts to take away consumer protections, consumer watchdog group Allied Progress launched a new website to help the American public understand the motives and meet the key players behind the administration’s anti-consumer, industry-friendly agenda. CFPBWatch.org features detailed profiles of top political appointees at the Trump Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, whose resumes include past work for industries the agency oversees and right-wing extremists in Congress. The website will be regularly updated with new profiles and research, as well as the latest news on the Bureau’s giveaways to the financial industry at consumers’ expense. The effort comes ahead of CFPB Director Kathy Kraninger’s congressional appearance this week defending her semi-annual report.
“Amid all the chaos and controversy in this administration, the Trump CFPB has maintained a laser-like focus on serving powerful financial interests that write big checks,” said Derek Martin, director of Allied Progress. “As we speak, the agency is pushing new rules that would leave millions of people vulnerable to the payday loan debt trap, while subjecting millions more to unlimited harassment from debt collectors – changes that would have real consequences for hard working Americans. And rather than go after predatory lenders and financial scammers, the agency is deliberately shortchanging cheated consumers on the restitution they deserve.
Added Martin: “Who is making these costly decisions? It’s not just Director Kathy Kraninger, who recently gushed to a roomful of bankers that they “are really helping drive the agenda.” Kraninger has surrounded herself at the top with corporate insiders and the former aides of right-wing ideologues in Congress who have fought the CFPB since its inception. These are the last people consumers can trust to work on their behalf. And they’re counting on the public being too distracted to notice what consumer rights are in jeopardy and what industry abuses have been enabled on their watch. The CFPB’s leadership may be refusing to do their job looking out for consumers, but now consumers have a resource to keep an eye on them at CFPBWatch.org.”
‘Consumer Champions Need Not Apply’: The CFPB was created to keep consumers from financial harm and hold Wall Street accountable, a mission all but abandoned under current leadership. Congress intended there only be a single political appointment at the Bureau in the interest of keeping it independent and on task. But thanks to former Acting Director Mulvaney’s 2017 agency-packing scheme – the agency has filled top jobs or created new questionable positions for at least seven political appointees, and other politically-inspired hires. Among them are:
- CFPB Policy Director for Research, Markets, and Regulations Tom B. Pahl, a corporate lawyer who represented several CFPB-regulated companies including consumer reporting agencies, debt collectors, debt buyers, and creditors;
- CFPB Office of Innovation Director Paul Watkins, who was a senior attorney for an anti-LGBTQ hate group and now has the power to exempt businesses from anti-discrimination laws;
- CFPB Private Education Loan Ombudsman Robert G. Cameron, who previously worked as a senior attorney for a major student loan servicer while it battled class-action lawsuits for allegedly mistreating and deceiving student borrowers;
- CFPB Chief of Staff Kirsten Joy Sutton (Mork)who served for nearly a decade as senior aide to former House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-TX), known as one of the fiercest opponents of the CFPB and most useful tools of Wall Street.