Appeals court rules consumer bureau’s structure is constitutional
January 31, 2018
Language in the Dodd-Frank Act that gives the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) independence from Congress is constitutional, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled Wednesday, overturning a 2016 ruling by three of the court’s judges.
In a review of the court’s previous decision, PHH v. CFPB, the full court held that the bureau can exist as an independent agency with a sole director who can only be fired by the president for “inefficiency, neglect of duty, or malfeasance.”
Judge Nina Pillard, who wrote the court’s opinion, cited the precedent set by Humphrey’s Executor v. United States, a 1935 case reaffirming the legality of the Federal Trade Commission’s independent, sole-director structure.
The full court’s 6-3 vote to overturn the 2016 decision preserves the structure of the CFPB as laid out in Dodd-Frank, handing a victory to the bureau’s supporters.
The court’s Wednesday decision upholds the ruling against the fine, but protects the bureau’s legal foundation.
The opinion comes as progressives and conservatives clash over the future of the CFPB, now run by Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney.
Mulvaney has taken several steps to rein in the CFPB’s regulations and its oversight of the financial sector, drawing criticism from liberals who say he is effectively shutting down the agency.
Wednesday’s ruling gives Mulvaney a clear path to continue reshaping the CFPB, as he will retain his power as acting director. Cordray said the ruling is important to the future of the bureau, even if it gives Mulvaney cover to unwind his legacy.
Banking and financial services industry trade groups criticized the ruling and called for the CFPB director to be replaced with a bipartisan commission, a longstanding goal for the sector.
“While the court ruled the CFPB’s governing structure was not unconstitutional, it does not mean the current structure is appropriate for the Bureau’s long-term credibility,” said Richard Hunt, president of the Consumer Bankers of America, a major banking trade group. “Congress should create a bipartisan commission at the CFPB, in place of a sole director, to uphold the Bureau’s mission of consumer protection.”
Read the article HERE.
Dodd-Frank has been at a pivotal point in so many issues that it needs to be revisited and revised itself.
That an independent taxpayer-funded agency has the ability to override, make laws and regulations, and can only have the SINGLE director removed by the sitting president for specific reasons is absolutely unreasonable and untenable. I am not even sure how much sway the president has in submitting an appointee to the top position or if he even can.
The CFPB has already proven it can be politically weaponized and can exact huge fines for regulations and laws that it has solely produced. That is a total bypass of congressional, judicial, and executive branch safeguards and constitutional powers.
Even having a board of three or more sends chills up my spine as to its vast power. Granted they “say” they are for consumer protection but honestly a program built by Elizabeth Warren in theory and something a single man produced as a program without congressional oversight cannot be too transparent or cognizant of oversight, transparency and safeguards once that one man leaves office. Essential that man can be in office for decades and control a huge powerful machine to force compliance in ways we may not be aware of until after the changes have occurred.
Where taxpayer money is involved there has to be a committee and strong oversight. No agency should have the right to produce rules, laws, or regulations that is not done within a congressional committee which follows congressional procedures. Period.