Rep. McHenry Goes To Bat For The Bank Industry Again, Takes A Swing At Cordray

January 05, 2012 10:30 am ET — Brian Powell

Patrick McHenry

The ink hadn't dried on President Obama's recess appointment of Richard Cordray to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) before Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-NC) was requesting that Cordray testify in front of the House Oversight subcommittee that he chairs. In a statement accompanying the release of his invitation, McHenry parrots the right-wing meme characterizing the appointment as "Chicago" politics:

The President should stop allowing his Chicago political campaign to make his Washington policy decisions.  The unprecedented appointment of Mr. Cordray runs counter to the constitutional requirements for a recess appointment and Obama's own campaign pledge to run 'the most transparent administration in history.'  There are legitimate policy concerns about the structure of the CFPB.  They can be reconciled, but the President refuses to even have the conversation.

Of course, this isn't true. The president has sent Elizabeth Warren, the architect of the CFBP, to testify before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee twice in the past year (and another time before the House Financial Services Committee) to "have the conversation." McHenry is infamous for his boorish treatment of Warren at that time — accusing her of lying to Congress and waging a bizarre series of personal attacks via Twitter and other social media.

More importantly, McHenry is infamous as a shill for the finance industry the CFPB would regulate. He's the top House recipient of campaign cash from finance and credit companies for the 2012 election cycle, and he's already received over $240,000 from the finance, insurance and real estate sector for this cycle alone. Bank of America is his top career contributor; Wells Fargo/Wachovia and the American Bankers Association, among many others, are not far behind. These contributors stand to lose a lot if the CFPB is suddenly allowed to grow teeth.

McHenry notes in his letter to Cordray that his committee is "deeply interested in how you will implement and enforce the unparalleled powers of your new office." In other words, since Republicans didn't have the political strength or popular will to prevent the Wall Street reform the CFPB would provide, they'll try once again to bully the new cop on the beat in order to prevent strict enforcement of the Dodd-Frank Act.