4 Months Later, Top Trump CFPB Official With Ties to Anti-LGBT Hate Group Still Holds Power to Okay Lending Discrimination
Washington D.C. — Ahead of the House Financial Services Committee hearing today on discrimination in lending and housing against the LGBTQ community, consumer advocacy group Allied Progress renewed its calls on Trump CFPB Director Kathy Kraninger to fire Paul Watkins, head of the CFPB’s Office of Innovation. In June, Allied Progress exposed Watkins’ past work for a Southern Poverty Law Center-designated anti-LGBT hate group and questioned whether Watkins has the judgement and character to fairly enforce rules against lending discrimination — concerns that were echoed by Members of Congress.
When Director Kraninger learned of Watkins’ history training activists for a group that opposes equality and supports the recriminalization of homosexuality, she didn’t hesitate to throw her full support behind him. Worse, Kraninger took steps in September to give Watkins even more power, including the authority to exempt businesses from liability for products and services that fall under certain consumer protection laws like the Equal Credit Opportunity Act. The Advocate reported that those decisions are not sitting well among many of her own colleagues at the CFPB.
“For months, Director Kraninger has shrugged off concerns even among her own staff about her decision to empower someone associated with hate against the LGBT community,” said Patrice N. Snow, spokeswoman for Allied Progress. “For some reason, Kraninger thinks someone who was embedded for two years with a group that defends “state-sanctioned sterilization of trans people abroad” is the perfect choice to decide whether businesses can skirt anti-discrimination laws. These are not the actions of someone who is committed to the CFPB’s mission to protect ALL consumers from discrimination in lending. If Director Kraninger doesn’t see the problem here, she is the problem.”