The Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection was created in July, 2010, as part of the Dodd-Frank financial reform legislation. The bureau’s goals include watching for major violations of mortgage disclosure laws and other infractions at the firms that could cause consumers to unwittingly sign up for risky loans. In May, 2011, forty-four Republican senators said they would refuse to vote on any nominee to lead the bureau, demanding instead that the agency replace a single leader with a board of directors, arguing that the agency had too much power and was unaccountable.
In July, 2011, President Barack Hussein Obama named Richard Cordray, former attorney general of Ohio, to lead the bureau. In December, 2011, despite an extraordinary campaign for confirmation by the White House, his nomination was blocked by a Republican-led filibuster in the Senate. On January 4, 2012, officials said that Obama had decided to use a recess appointment to put Cordray into the position. But there is just one small problem – the senate has never technically adjourned since they left town right before Christmas, so Obama cannot make recess appointments. Did that stop Obama? To quote the late John Belushi, “Noooooooooooooooooooooooo.” Despite the senate’s non-recess, Obama is ignoring the rules and will try to appoint Cordray anyway. Installing Cordray without Senate confirmation would inflame already high partisan tensions, and could make relations between the branches of government even more contentious.
White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer, in a tweet, said “We Can’t Wait: Today in Ohio, President Obama will announce the recess appointment of Consumer Watchdog Richard Cordray.” Cordray was to appear with Obama during the official announcement in Ohio. This move by Obama is sure to raise questions of executive power and whether the administration is overstepping its authority. Said Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT): “This is a very grave decision by this heavy-handed, autocratic White House. Circumventing the Senate and tossing out decades of precedent to appoint an unaccountable czar to appease its liberal base is beneath the Office of the President.”
Obama and his administration seem to get away with these shenanigans on a regular basis simply by declaring themselves above the rules. It is typical of an administration that flouts laws and rules in order to achieve its goals.
But that’s just my opinion.
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