House Committee Threatens CFPB’s Cordray With Contempt Charges

In another salvo lobbed by Congress and, specifically, Republicans toward the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), the House Financial Services Committee is, as The American Banker puts it, “threatening to file contempt charges” against the agency’s head, Richard Cordray.

Those charges would come in response to what the Committee said have been lies tied to CFPB investigations into Wells Fargo, reported the American Banker.

The (possible) charges, should they in fact be levied, would center on claims that the CFPB has as of yet not given over records that show what should have been a full investigation into Wells’ sales practices, which have been at the heart of a controversy over fake accounts opened by brokers at the bank.

The conflict here is that Cordray testified to Congress earlier this year that the agency had conducted what he called an “independent and comprehensive” review of Wells’ practices. With the absence of the CFPB documents, the House Committee stated, its own Wells Fargo investigation remains at an “impasse.” The Committee also stated that records that it had received from the CFPB show at least some reliance on the work of others, including the L.A. city attorney, despite claims that the CFPB’s own investigation had been independent.

Should those CFPB records not be produced, said the panel, contempt charges might be in the offing. In addition, findings that the director lied to Congress could, in fact, set Richard Cordray up for being fired by President Donald Trump “for cause,” even while courts debate the legality of the President firing the executive “at will.”

As has been widely reported, Wells agreed this past September to pay $190 million in restitution and settlement fees as part of the aforementioned investigation, which upended the public’s trust in consumer finance and protection.