WASHINGTON — House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling is demanding that Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Richard Cordray publicly state by Wednesday whether he is running for political office.
The Texas Republican accused Cordray of colluding with consumer groups and their lobbyists while rushing out a rule to restrict payday lending ahead of a widely expected gubernatorial bid in Ohio.
“There is no valid legal basis for accelerating a federal rulemaking to satisfy an arbitrary deadline necessitated by election dates established under Ohio law,” Hensarling wrote in a letter to Cordray dated Monday. “If this is the case, it undoubtedly opens the Bureau’s rule up to legal challenge."
The CFPB recently finalized a rule banning mandatory arbitration agreements in financial contracts and is said to be nearing the release of a rule targeting payday loans. In the letter, Hensarling asks Cordray to make a “categorical denial” that politics factored into the rule writing of the payday regulations and that he preserve all records relating to the rule.
Hensarling also asks Cordray to either confirm that he plans to serve out his entire term as CFPB director, which is set to expire next summer, or publicly commit to a date at which he plans to resign and presumably announce his plans to run for governor. The letter asks for a response by Aug. 30.
While the bureau has been mum on rumors that Cordray will run for governor, analysts have speculated that he may announce his bid before the first Ohio Democratic gubernatorial debate on Sept. 12, and could announce as early as Labor Day weekend at an AFL-CIO event in Ohio, which Cordray is scheduled to attend.
However, a Sept. 7 CFPB meeting with credit unions with David Silberman, the agency's acting deputy director, originally slated to preside, has been updated to show that Cordray will give remarks.