Everything You Should Know About CFPB Nominee Kraninger Before Thursday’s Banking Committee Vote

Trump Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) nominee Kathy Kraninger has no experience with consumer protection issues or holding big banks, predatory lenders, and other financial scammers accountable. The White House continues to stonewall the release of documents (our litigation on this issue continues) that could shed light on her record of mismanagement in some of the administration’s biggest blunders including its family separation immigration policy and the disastrous response to the crisis in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria. So, on the eve of the Senate Banking Committee’s vote on whether to move her nomination forward, we present the following information: what we know about Kraninger despite the best efforts of her allies to keep the public in the dark.

No Relevant Experience

  • Kraninger has no relevant experience working on consumer protection issues. Kathy Kraninger only began working as an associate director at OMB last year, after Mulvaney took over. Kraninger “previously worked for the Department of Homeland Security and the Senate Appropriations Committee,” on the Homeland Security Subcommittee. Her nomination to lead the CFPB raised “concerns among Democrats, especially because of the lack of financial policy expertise in her background.” [Elizabeth Dexheimer, Robert Schmidt, and Jennifer Jacobs, “Trump Favors Little-Known Official to Be Next CFPB Chief,” Bloomberg, 06/15/18]

Family Separation Immigration Policy

  • Kraninger’s fingerprints are likely all over the Trump Administration’s family separation policy.  Kathy Kraninger was likely involved in implementing the Trump Administration’s policy of separating children from their parents at the border. This involvement would have been in her official capacity at OMB. Kraninger has budgetary oversight of the Department of Homeland Security and Department of Justice, and OMB has oversight of the policy change that prompted families to be separated at the border. [Kate Berry, “CFPB nominee likely connected to Trump’s ‘zero-tolerance’ immigration policy,American Banker, 06/19/18]

Disastrous Response to Crisis in Puerto Rico After Hurricane Maria

Botched Handling of Terrorist “No Fly” Watchlist Accuracy

  • Kraninger defended the terrorist watchlist even after DHS received 16,000 complaints about incorrect information on the list. In 2007, Kathy Kraninger defended the terrorist watchlist at a Congressional hearing, despite acknowledging that the list had “errors,” that sometimes “waste [Department of Homeland Security] resources.” At the time, the Department of Homeland Security had only resolved half of the 16,000 complaints it received from individuals who believed they were mistakenly placed on the list. [“House Panel Weighs Terrorist Watch-List Problems [Audio],” NPR News, 11/08/07]
  • During a 2007 Congressional hearing, Kraninger was unable to confirm if Rep. John Lewis could ever get his name fully removed from the terrorist watch list databases. Despite Congressman Lewis raising concerns as early as 2004, Kraninger was unable to confirm if anything could be done for him saying, “we cannot promise that his issue is indeed […] fixed” and instead blamed airlines for how they use the list. As of 2004, Lewis had already been stopped 35-40 times at airport security. [Testimony of Kathleen Kraninger, “The Progress and Pitfalls of the Terrorist Watchlist,” Hearing of the House Committee on Homeland Security, 11/08/07; Ted Barrett, “Kennedy has company on airline watch list,” com, 08/20/04]

Abysmal Record on Data Security

  • Kraninger pushed for use of RFID chips in government issued identification cards despite concerns over personal data security and DHS concerns over its effectiveness. Kathy Kraninger pushed for federal and state issuers to adopt RFID chips in identification cards and documents, despite being aware of the vulnerabilities they created. Researchers found that protective measures for RFID chips are easily made ineffective, and unique codes have the potential to expose sensitive personal data or be hacked. Kraninger pushed for the adoption of RFID despite an official recommendation to DHS arguing that the technology “may not be best suited for identifying individuals” and urging that “other solutions should be considered.” [Prepared Statement of Kathleen Kraninger, “Technology for Secure Identity Documents,” Hearing of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on Government Management, Organization, and Procurement, 10/18/07; Testimony of Kathleen Kraninger, “Technology for Secure Identity Documents,” Hearing of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on Government Management, Organization, and Procurement, 10/18/07; Todd Lewan, “Special alloy sleeves urged to block hackers?,” The Associated Press, 07/11/09; Press Release, American Civil Liberties Union, 12/12/07; “Data Privacy and Integrity Advisory Committee,” United States Department of Homeland Security, accessed 06/21/18; “The Use of RFID for Human Identity Verification,” The Data Privacy & Integrity Advisory Committee, 12/06/06]

Her Spin on the Revolving Door of Influence

  • In 2010, the consulting firm Kraninger worked for got a controversial contract from U.S. Customs and Border Protection – a government agency she previously had purview over at Department of Homeland Security. That year, Sentinel HS Group won a $481,000 “strategic consulting” contract from U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CPB) to “facilitate discussions among senior Border Patrol leaders.” Sentinel’s Senior Principal and another three figures at the firm had previously worked for CBP and the contract faced scrutiny because the firm was “stocked with former insiders.” [Press Release, “Kathy Kraninger Joins The Sentinel HS Group as Senior Director,” com, accessed 06/15/18; and Ken Dilanian, “Border Patrol gives contract to firm stocked with former insiders,” Los Angeles Times, 09/21/10]

Staggering Cuts to Important Housing Programs

Giveaway to AT&T Disguised as Help for First Responders

  • Kraninger voted to give AT&T a multi-billion-dollar federal contract supposedly to provide a network for First Responders, but AT&T admitted they’d leverage the contract to expand their own commercial 5G service. On March 28, 2017, Kathy Kraninger voted to give AT&T a 25-year contract to build and operate the Nationwide Public Safety Broadband Network. The deal would require substantial investment from AT&T but also provided the company with $6.5 billion in federal funds as well as 20 MHz of “valuable telecommunications spectrum.” One analyst even speculated that just 1% of the spectrum would be used for first responders while the rest would boost the company’s spectrum holdings. The company admitted that it planned to leverage its FirstNet contract to expand its own 5G capabilities for their commercial network. [“FirstNet Special Board Meeting, March 28, 2017 [Audio],” First Responder Network Authority, 03/28/17 (15:52); FY 2017: Annual Report to Congress,”First Responder Network Authority, February 2018; Trefis Team, “How Much Does AT&T Stand To Gain From FirstNet?,” Forbes, 12/12/17; Wells Fargo 2018 Telecom Forum [Audio],” Wells Fargo Securities, 06/21/18 (23:38); (24:16); Edmund Lee and Cecilia Kang, “AT&T Closes Acquisition of Time Warner,” The New York Times, 06/14/18]

Brotherly Conflict of Interest

Never Trumper Who Now Has Trump’s Back?

  • Kraninger was described by Breitbart as a “never-Trump” aide. In April 2018, Kathleen Kraninger was included on a list of “Never-Trump Aides” in a Breitbart news article. Breitbart wrote that “Kraninger worked for the House and Senate homeland-security appropriations committees, neither of which supported Trump’s policies in 2017 or 2018” and that “Kraninger was hired January 2011, under the chairmanship of Kentucky Republican Rep. Harold Rogers, who did little to oppose the pro-migration policies established by former President Barack Obama.” [Neil Munro, “Never-Trump Aides Run Donald Trump’s Outreach to Congress,” Breitbart.com, 04/17/18]
  • In 2016, Kraninger supported Jeb Bush and John Kasich for President, she even donated to Kasich after Trump asked him to drop out of the race. On November 8, 2015, Kathleen Kraninger donated $500 to the Jeb 2016, Inc. Committee.  On March 25 and April 26, 2016, Kathleen Kraninger made two donations of $250 to Kasich for America, Inc. The second donation came after Donald Trump “called on Ohio Gov. John Kasich to drop out of the GOP nominating contest, accusing him of siphoning away potential Trump voters.” On April 3, 2016, “Trump said Kasich is taking votes him, increasing the possibility that Trump will be unable to capture enough delegates and win outright and increasing the likelihood of a contested convention.” [“FEC Report for Jeb 2016, Inc., 2015; “FEC Report for Kasich for America, Inc,” 2016; “FEC Report for Kasich for America, Inc,” 2016 and Jose A. DelReal, “Trump calls on Kasich to drop out of GOP primary,” Boston Globe, 04/03/16]
  • Kraninger “liked” a Facebook post in which actor George Takei mocked President Trump’s speech patterns. In 2016, Kathleen Kraninger “liked” a post by actor George Takei on Facebook in which Takei mocked Donald Trump’s speech patterns. Takei wrote that he had overheard someone say: “Every Trump sentence has words. Sometimes three words. Or two. And they’re great sentences. Terrific sentences. That I can tell you. Believe me. They’re great. With the best words. Terrific repeated words. Not very big words. Every Trump sentence has words.” [“Facebook Post by George Takei,” Facebook.com, 03/04/16 and Search for Stories Liked by Kathy Kraninger on Facebook, 06/21/18]
  • Kraninger appears to be sympathetic to politicians like Trump who don’t know “‘everything’” and thinks people need to be “‘a little more understanding of [politicians’] inability to be perfect all the time.’” During a radio interview in 2016, Kathy Kraninger said, “‘Maybe we also need to be a little more forgiving of our elected officials and their ability really to know everything about everything.’” She also said that there’s a lot of pressure on elected officials “‘to be tracking everything,’” and that “‘we probably should be a little more understanding, I guess, of their inability to be perfect all the time in their responses.’” [“Senate Homeland Security staffer says ‘don’t sweat the small stuff,’” (29:20) Federal News Radio, 07/27/16]

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