US News and World Report and their Debate Club feature asked if the recess appointment of Richard Cordray to head up the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau was constitution. Here’s my take:
The CFPB is the law of the land. The agency was created last year when the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act was passed by Congress and signed by the President. This is how laws are made. It says so in the Constitution. A minority of Senators can’t decide on their own to nullify the law. And tellingly, few are raising the objection the Richard Corday is unqualified for the post. In fact, he has received glowing and bipartisan support, especially from those he worked when he served as Attorney General for Ohio.
Moreover, the CFPB has important work to do. The proliferation of abusive and unregulated financial practices played a notorious role in creating the financial crisis and bringing on The Great Recession. The new agency has been told by Congress to be the cop on the financial services beat and look out for the interests of consumers. This means making sure all types of consumers have access to financial products and services that are fair, transparent, and competitive. Specifically, the agency has been tasked with ensuring that consumer are protected from abusive and deceptive financial practices and are able to get information that is understandable and timely. There should no longer be a safe haven for firms hiding large fees deep within disclosure forms written in unintelligible legalese.