On January 18, GOP members of the House Financial Services Committee released “The CFPB’s Vitiated Legal Case Against Auto-Lenders”, an investigative report prepared by GOP members who are of the belief that the CFPB likely has and continues to violate the Administrative Procedure Act. Relying mostly on internal CFPB documents obtained by the committee, the report focuses on the Bureau’s 2015 rule authorizing it to supervise larger participants in the auto lending market. In an accompanying press release, Committee Chairman Rep. Jeb Hensarling noted that the CFPB likely violated federal law when CFPB Director Richard Cordray failed to “heed CFPB attorneys who advised him to publish a list of institutions the Bureau believed would be subject to the proposed [auto-lending] rule” and/or “re-open the public comment period after it had closed.”

The report was released amid uncertainty over the fate of Director Cordray as the new administration assumes office. As previously covered in InfoBytes, a group of Democratic senators sent a letter Jan. 10 to President-elect Trump urging him not to dismiss Cordray, and noting that an attempt by Trump to fire him would be hard-pressed to withstand a legal challenge. This latest investigative report was the third released by GOP members on the panel over the last 14 months concerning CFPB efforts to regulate auto lenders—which Rep. Hensarling describes as “dangerously out-of-control,” and “unconstitutional.”