Critics calling for Richard Cordray’s ouster as director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau may get an unexpected gift from the man himself — his resignation to pursue the Democratic nomination for Ohio governor.
Citing an Ohio Supreme Court justice with ties to Cordray, both Politico and Cleveland.com have reported that the CFPB chief is gearing up for a run in 2018, when Ohioans will select a replacement for term-limited Republican Gov. John Kasich.
He’d enter a Democratic primary field currently populated by two former state legislators and the mayor of Dayton, which experts have said would work in Cordray’s favor due to his higher profile.
“Rich is in a unique position to be able to raise money nationally when he comes into the race, and that piece is going to come together faster than it would for other candidates,” a local Democratic official told Politico.
Cordray also served as the attorney general of the Buckeye State from 2009 until his CFPB appointment in 2011. He and his wife live in Grove City, Ohio, located outside of Columbus, according to his official CFPB bio.
Politico, which dubbed Cordray “a Democratic celebrity,” positioned a potential gubernatorial run as a win-win for both sides of the CFPB debate: While Democrats would gain a nationally known contender for governor in a state that favored President Trump by eight points in 2016, Republicans would finally see the exit of their perceived regulatory nemesis.
Created as part of the Dodd-Frank package of financial reforms passed in the wake of the Great Recession in 2010, the CFPB has a unique structure in which its director — nominated to a five-year term by the president — can’t be removed without demonstrating cause.
This has vexed the GOP majorities in the House and Senate, who have long accused the CFPB of over-regulating the financial industry. Just last week, Texas Republican Rep. Jeb Hensarling — who frequently uses his position as the chair of the House Financial Services Committee to criticize the CFPB and its actions — demanded that Cordray commit to serving his full term, which expires in July 2018, or otherwise quit immediately.
“Back in March, I asked Director Cordray whether he would serve his full term as CFPB Director expiring July 2018, and if not, on what date he would depart from office,” Hensarling said in a statement. “He avowed that he had ‘no insights to give.’”
“If Director Cordray wishes to issue midnight rules, to hire or adjust the status of CFPB employees, to obligate CFPB funds, or to accelerate agency investigations, he should first commit to serving his full term,” Hensarling continued. “If he will not do so, the honorable course of action would be to resign and leave such decisions to his successor.”
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