A group of 37 Democratic and Republican state attorneys general has endorsed Richard Cordray for the CFPB’s chief, stating that he “has the knowledge, experience and leadership skills to serve in this important position.” The attorneys general, allmembers of the National Association of Attorneys General, recently sent a letter to the leaders of the United States Senate praising Cordray’s “good judgment and inherent sense of fairness.” The letter called Cordray “both brilliant and balanced,” and assured Senate leaders that, “[a]s head of the CFPB, Mr. Cordray will be an honest broker and strong advocate for both business and consumers that are committed to follow the rules.”
Absent from the list of signatories to the letter wasMike DeWine, who defeated Cordray for the position of Ohio Attorney General in 2010. DeWine has since commented that Cordray is “highly qualified” and will “do an excellent job.” DeWine stated that he did not sign the letter because he prefers not to tell his former colleagues in the Senate what to do.
The Senate Banking Committee approved Cordray’s nomination along party lines in early October. Cordray’s confirmation is in question, however, because a bloc of 44 Republicans has threatened to prevent consideration of any nominee to the CFPB until Democrats agree to make changes to the Dodd-Frank Act, including (1) replacing the CFPB director with a board of directors, (2) subjecting the CFPB to the appropriations process and (3) establishing tools for bank regulators to use to prevent unnecessary bank failure.
Republican Senator Richard Shelby has complained that President Barack Obama has been “ignoring Republicans’ calls to make [the CFPB] accountable to their elected representatives.” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, on the other hand, has labeled the Republicans’ actions as “obstructionism.” President Obama also has lamented that the Republicans “have threatened not to confirm [Cordray] not because of anything he’s done, but because they want to roll back the whole notion of having a consumer watchdog.” The White House stressed its continued commitment to getting Cordray confirmed. In their letter, the attorneys general maintained that disagreements about the Bureau should not be confused with Cordray’s suitability for the job.