WASHINGTON — Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Richard Cordray said Wednesday that his possible political ambitions have not affected the development or timing of a final rule restricting payday lending, which is expected to be released soon.

In a letter to House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling, Cordray "categorically" denied that "political considerations have informed any aspect of my decisions, orders and communications relating" to the small-dollar lending rule, and pledged to keep any records related to the rulemaking.

But Cordray also declined to spell out whether he was running for office.

“At this time I have no further insights to provide on that subject,” he wrote.

Richard Cordray, former director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
CFPB Director Richard Cordray's possible run for Ohio governor is speculative, but Cordray himself has declined to comment on the rumors. Bloomberg News

Hensarling has written three letters to Cordray this year asking whether he intends to resign from the bureau and run for governor of Ohio, as is widely expected. The Texas Republican's most recent letter, sent Monday, demanded that Cordray either provide a date at which he plans to resign or declare that will fulfill his full term, which expires next summer. The letter also suggested the CFPB was rushing the payday lending rule in order to accommodate Cordray's political ambitions.

“You are asking me the same question a third time and my answer remains the same,” Cordray wrote.

To date, rumors of whether Cordray plans to run for governor in his home state remain speculative, but Cordray hasn’t shot them down.

In a response to Cordray on Wednesday, Hensarling said he was disappointed by the CFPB director's "steadfast refusal to be transparent with the public about his intentions."

"If he intends to serve his full term, there is no reason not to say so," Hensarling said. "The only reasonable conclusion is that he therefore harbors partisan political ambitions, which calls into question the propriety of all of his recent and future actions as CFPB director. Only Richard Cordray can clear the legal cloud now hanging over the CFPB, and it is a shame that he will not do so."

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