Koch-Funded Group Recycles Anti-CFPB Talking Points from Shady Koch-Tied Astroturf Group

Protect America’s Consumers has multiple ties to the Koch brothers, including being registered in the same location as the lawyer for the Koch-funded group Americans for Prosperity which just happened to have an operative write an op-ed bashing the CFPB using the same debunked talking points pushed by Protect America’s Consumers.

Protect America’s Consumers Has Multiple Ties to the Koch Brothers, Including Being Registered in The Same Location as The Lawyer for the Koch-Funded Group Americans for Prosperity

The Address of Protect America’s Consumers Is the Same as A Lawyer Who Has Sponsored Several Koch-Tied or Koch-Funded Groups. “The website doesn’t have any information about the group’s sponsors, because “we don’t want this to be seen as a partisan issue,” said spokesman Steve Gates. But the organization’s Warrenton, Va., address matches that of a lawyer who has registered several Koch-linked or -funded groups, such as Americans for Responsible Leadership and American Future Fund. [Politico, 1/4/16]

  • Torchinsky Represented the Koch Brothers Funded Organization Americans for Prosperity. Americans for Prosperity, the political nonprofit founded and partially funded by billionaires Charles and David Koch, fought off similar complaints with the help of Torchinsky. AFP spent $38.5 million on advertising in support of Republican candidates in 2012, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. The group also deployed a ground operation that sought to register Republican voters and get out the vote on Election Day.” [Bloomberg, 12/5/12]

Protect America’s Consumers CEO Steve Gates Worked with The American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity When “It Was Caught Feigning a Grass-Roots Campaign, Including Sending Forged Letter to Congressional Offices.” “The only person who has been identified with the group, spokesman Steve Gates, worked for the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity while it was caught feigning a grass-roots campaign, including sending forged letters to congressional offices. Gates didn’t respond to requests for comment.” [Politico, 1/7/16]

  • Executives with Two Member Companies of the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity Attended A “Secretive Gathering Held by The Koch Brothers” To Discuss 2010 Election Strategy. “With no end in sight to such dramatic spending in order to protect polluters’ profits, a new Think Progress exposé published yesterday suggests that the level of coordination between secret money political groups, ultra-rich conservative donors, and polluters may be even deeper than previously thought. Think Progress obtained a memo detailing a secretive gathering held by the Koch brothers this past June, at which the Koch brothers plotted their 2010 election strategy with 210 attendees from the oil industry, coal companies, health insurers, banks, right-wing media (including Glenn Beck), the U.S. Chamber, and others. The June meeting was merely the latest in a series of similar gatherings held twice annually by the Kochs in order to coordinate the funding of the conservative infrastructure of front groups, political campaigns, think tanks, media outlets and other anti-government efforts. The list of attendees obtained by Think Progress shows that there is considerable overlap between the groups that have been running tens of millions in anti-clean energy ads and those who attended the Koch confab, including: …American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity: The well-known and scandal-plagued coal industry front group has spent over $16 million on energy ads this year. Executives from two of its member companies—Alpha Coal Sales Company (a subsidiary of Alpha Natural Resources) and Alliance Resource Partners were in attendance at the gathering.” [Think Progress, 10/21/10]

…And Who Just Happened to Write an Op-Ed Today Bashing the CFPB Using the Same Debunked Talking Points as Protect America’s Consumers? An American for Prosperity Operative!

“It spent lavishly on a $216-million-dollar renovation of its headquarters, complete with a four-story glass staircase, two-story waterfall, and a sunken garden.” [Daily Caller (Op-Ed By Americans For Prosperity Policy Analyst, Sean Moran): “Declaring Independence From The CFPB:, 5/4/16]

  • “The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau spent nearly $216 MILLION of taxpayers’ money to build themselves an unnecessarily lavish office. The CFPB office includes a waterfall, exotic plants and a sitting area specifically for “contemplation” [Protect America’s Consumers Website, Accessed, 5/5/16]

“Yet it also placed legislative, executive and judicial power in the hands of its director, Richard Cordray, who is entirely unaccountable to the democratic process.” [Daily Caller (Op-Ed By Americans For Prosperity Policy Analyst, Sean Moran): “Declaring Independence From The CFPB:, 5/4/16]

FACT: Congress Can Hold Hearings On CFPB Budget

Cordray Pointed Out That the Fact That Congress Can Hold Hearings to Examine The CFPB Budget Is Meaningful Oversight Against Frivolous Spending. “Yet Cordray pointed out that Congress is permitted to hold hearings to examine the budget of the bureau, and said that oversight would make it impossible to spend frivolously. “The notion that we would spend $100 million on paper clips and it wouldn’t matter, that we can be brought up here in front of you and have to answer for that publicly and embarrass ourselves if it turns out we were engaged in frivolous expenditures, that is very meaningful oversight,” according to Cordray. [MarketWatch, 2/15/12]

FACT: CFPB Renovation Won’t Cost Taxpayers a Dime 

The Renovation for The CFPB Will Cost Taxpayers “Precisely Zero” Since Its Paid for by The Federal Reserve Which “Is Self-Financed, Largely with Income On Securities Such as Government Bonds.” “Republicans have cast the project as a misuse of public dollars in a time of tight budgets. “The CFPB is funded by the Federal Reserve, which happens to be taxpayer money,” Hensarling said in a February speech that denounced the renovation. But the Federal Reserve is self-financed, largely with income on securities such as government bonds, so the amount Congress needs to set aside for the office redo is precisely zero.” [Bloomberg, 7/10/14]

FACT: Wildly Overestimates Cost of Renovation, Which Is in Line with Other Renovation Projects

Bloomberg: The GOP Estimated That The CFPB Headquarters Renovation Would Cost $216 Million but “Their Numbers Don’t Add Up.” “The GOP members say their calculations show the renovation will cost $215.8 million, or $590 per square foot—more than double the CFPB estimate, and more than it cost per square foot to construct the lavish Bellagio Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. These figures were picked up by newspapers and conservative websites, which ran them under headlines like “Elizabeth Warren’s Brainchild Builds HQ Costlier Than Trump Tower.” There’s just one hitch: Their numbers don’t add up.” [Bloomberg, 7/10/14]

  • The Inspector General of the Federal Reserve Estimated the Cost of the Renovations at $145.1 Million. “At McHenry’s request, the inspector general of the Federal Reserve, the CFPB’s parent agency, prepared a report in June examining the project’s price tag. It said the job would cost an estimated $145.1 million for construction, construction management, and GSA fees. The report said the renovation covers 512,000 sq. ft., bringing the estimate to $283 per square foot. The renovation has since been scaled back to 503,000 sq. ft.” [Bloomberg, 7/10/14]

The GSA Has Said the Costs Are in Line with Other Government Renovation Projects and The CFPB Followed Proper Contracting Procedures. “The GSA has said the costs are in line with other government renovation projects, and the inspector general concluded the CFPB followed proper contracting procedures.” [Bloomberg, 7/10/14]

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