Elizabeth Warren’s Favorite Bank Regulator Is Driving the GOP Crazy

  • Republican governors initiate campaign against CFPB’s Cordray
  • GOP annoyed that Cordray won’t commit to Ohio governor’s race

Richard Cordray

Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

As a Barack Obama appointee who supports tough bank regulation, Richard Cordray was never going to be popular in a federal government controlled by Republicans. 

But Cordray is proving effective at driving state GOP officials crazy too over his refusal to say whether he will step down as director of the controversial Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to run for governor of Ohio as a Democrat.

The latest sign of their frustration: On Tuesday, the Republican Governors Association said it had started a new website and campaign to highlight the fact that Cordray has repeatedly declined to discuss his plans. The effort focuses on a frequent GOP criticism that a number of recent appearances he’s made in his native Ohio could violate laws that prohibit high-level government employees from engaging in politics.

Cordray rejected such accusations following a Labor Day speech before the Cincinnati AFL-CIO labor council.

“I’m doing a job that Congress appointed me to do,” Cordray told reporters. “It’s a non-partisan job, it doesn’t shift with one election or another election. It’s a job that protects consumers, so that’s the job I’m trying to do.’’

A CFPB spokesman declined to comment.

The URL for the GOP governors’ website is www.nocommentcordray.com. It poses questions such as “why won’t Cordray comment on his political ambitions?" and “what is he hiding?"

Cordray has drawn frequent praise from Democrats such as Senator Elizabeth Warren, the relentless Wall Street critic who helped bring the CFPB into existence.

His term ends in July 2018, but congressional Republicans and bank lobbyists 
-- both long-term critics of the CFPB and Cordray’s leadership -- have speculated for months he will leave sooner.

For the financial industry, Cordray’s departure can’t come soon enough. Even as President Donald Trump’s deregulatory agenda sweeps through Washington, Cordray has continued to pass new rules and sue companies.

— With assistance by Mark Niquette

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