Frank: Trump 'as­saults' con­sumer pro­tec­tion agency

The Washington Times Daily - - POLITICS - BY DAVE BOYER

A spon­sor of the law that cre­ated a new fed­eral reg­u­la­tor for con­sumers said Tues­day that the Trump Jus­tice De­part­ment and con­ser­va­tives are show­ing hypocrisy in their court chal­lenge of the agency’s sin­gle-di­rec­tor setup.

For­mer Rep. Bar­ney Frank, Mas­sachusetts Demo­crat and a lead spon­sor of the 2010 Dodd-Frank law that im­posed more reg­u­la­tion on Wall Street, said the Jus­tice De­part­ment is wag­ing an “as­sault” on the Con­sumer Fi­nan­cial Pro­tec­tion Bureau.

“Not only is the fed­eral gov­ern­ment re­fus­ing to de­fend the con­sti­tu­tion­al­ity, they’re par­tic­i­pat­ing in the as­sault on it,” Mr. Frank told re­porters on a con­fer­ence call. “This is one more re­pu­di­a­tion of a doc­trine they used to say they be­lieved in.”

The Jus­tice De­part­ment told a fed­eral ap­peals court last month that Pres­i­dent Trump must have the au­thor­ity to fire the head of the CFPB. In an un­usual move, Jus­tice filed a friend-of-the court brief op­pos­ing the CFPB in the ma­jor court case, as­sert­ing that the agency’s or­ga­ni­za­tional struc­ture is un­con­sti­tu­tional.

Mr. Frank said con­ser­va­tives op­posed to the Dodd-Frank law are guilty of a dou­ble stan­dard, cit­ing con­ser­va­tive crit­i­cism of then-Pres­i­dent Barack Obama’s re­fusal in 2011 to de­fend the fed­eral De­fense of Mar­riage Act, the 1996 law that barred fed­eral recog­ni­tion of same-sex mar­riages.

“Back then, they (con­ser­va­tives) were in­sist­ing that an ad­min­is­tra­tion had the ab­so­lute obli­ga­tion to de­fend as con­sti­tu­tional a law with which it dis­agreed on con­sti­tu­tional grounds,” Mr. Frank said.

The call with re­porters was ar­ranged by the Con­sti­tu­tional Ac­count­abil­ity Cen­ter, which filed a “friend of the court” brief last week on be­half of 40 cur­rent and for­mer law­mak­ers in the Court of Ap­peals for the D.C. Cir­cuit in de­fense of the CFPB.

In the court case, be­gun dur­ing the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion, the CFPB is seek­ing to pre­serve its cur­rent struc­ture, in which Di­rec­tor Richard Cor­dray is pro­tected from be­ing fired by the pres­i­dent. The Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion told the ap­peals court that the pres­i­dent should be able to fire the di­rec­tor at will.

A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Ap­peals for the D.C. Cir­cuit has ruled the agency’s struc­ture is un­con­sti­tu­tional. The full court has granted a re­hear­ing sched­uled for May 24.

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