House Financial Services Committee Chair Hensarling Blocks Cordray From Testifying About the CFPB

by Jeff Sovern

The Wall Street Journal has the story here and the American Banker here (one or both may be behind a paywall). Mr. Hensarling argues that as Cordray has not been confirmed, he is not the lawful head of the bureau and so cannot testify. But he adds in his letter to Mr. Cordray that "the Committee intends to conduct rigorous oversight of the CFPB's activities, and will expect the CFPB's cooperation in those efforts, including making other employees available to testify at Committee hearings and responding fully to Committee requests for documents and information."

So let me get this straight: Cordray can't testify because he hasn't been confirmed but his subordinates who also haven't been confirmed by the Senate can testify.  And the committee's "rigorous oversight" includes hearing from subordinates but not from their boss as to what the Bureau is doing. 

That, of course, makes no sense. Either the Committee wants to conduct appropriate oversight or it doesn't.  If it does, it should hear from Mr. Cordray as to matters as to which he is the most knowledgeable. If it doesn't, then it shouldn't hear from anyone from the Bureau.  The letter makes clear that the goal is not to conduct appropriate oversight but to make political points.  I don't know which is worse: how embarassing the letter's internal inconsistency is, or the fact that Mr. Hensarling expects people not to realize the inconsistency.



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