House subcommittee examines structure of CFPB

Ann Wagner
A House Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee hearing held this week examined whether the structure of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau violates the Constitution.

“Created under the Obama-era, ‘Washington knows best’ mindset, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is an unconstitutional behemoth that side-steps accountability to Congress and the president,” Committee Chair Ann Wagner (R-MO) said at the hearing, entitled The Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection’s Unconstitutional Design.

Wagner said the CFPB continually expands and overreaches its regulatory authority with an “imperial director.” Noting the challenge it has placed on American families desperate for economic relief, she said the independence of the bureau has demonstrated how a lack of checks and balances can lead to abuse.

“Now more than ever, we have a new obligation to examine the checks and balances of our federal government and ensure that our Constitution is reflected by it. It’s time to bring accountability back to Washington for ‘We the People,’” Wagner said.

Wagner said Congress must restructure the bureau to make it constitutional and more accountable to Congress and the executive, with a look into what authority the President has to remove the CFPB director.

“The CFPB is unaccountable to Congress in that it does not rely upon Congress for funding, instead taking its funding stream from the Federal Reserve to be allotted by the CFPB Director with no review by Congress.  As a result, the CFPB has grown comfortable in repeatedly ignoring oversight requests made by this committee, including for subpoenaed records,” she said. “Additionally, the CFPB is unaccountable to the President as well by being headed by a single director who can only be removed ‘for cause’ rather than ‘at will.’”