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Trump Appoints CFPB Critic; Sen. Warren Rallies Support for Agency

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The high-stakes battle over the CFPB continues unabated, as President-elect Donald Trump this week appointed an outspoken critic of the agency to his CFPB transition landing team, as Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) urged bureau supporters to fight efforts to weaken it.

Trump added three members to his CFPB landing team, most notably Kyle Hauptman, executive director of the Main Street Growth Project, an advocacy organization that pushes “pro-growth economic policies.”

The President-elect also appointed two others to the group–Consuela Jordan, president of a government relations firm and President of the National Black Republican Leadership Council and Julie Bell Lindsay, managing director and general counsel of capital markets and corporate reporting at Citigroup.

They join former SEC Commissioner Paul Atkins, who heads the transition’s overall financial regulatory agency effort.

Hauptman has been an ardent critic of the CFPB.

“The CFPB is a strange agency,” he and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) wrote in an op-ed piece in The Hill newspaper in October. “It isn’t subject to appropriations, instead deriving its funding from the Federal Reserve, and doesn’t have an SEC-like bipartisan commission structure. Consider that while the CFPB was using questionable statistical modeling to allege widespread racial discrimination in auto loans, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) found evidence of racial and gender discrimination against CFPB employees. This agency needs a “body camera.”’

Meanwhile, on Tuesday, Warren urged progressives in a Tuesday night conference call to fight efforts to dismantle the agency. The group that organized the conference call, Americans for Financial Reform, estimated that almost 3,000 people across the country were on the conference call.

The CFPB and its controversial director, Richard Cordray have been under fire from congressional Republicans, who say that the agency is over-zealous in carrying out its duties.

Two Republican senators—Ben Hasse of Nebraska and Mike Lee of Utah—have called on Trump to fire Cordray. Senate Banking Chairman Mike Crapo (R-Id.) has said the director should quit so Trump can appoint his own director.

Democrats, including Senate Banking ranking Democrat Sherrod Brown of Ohio have said that Trump should retain Cordray.

To make matters even more uncertain, Trump’s ability to simply fire Cordray is hung up in federal court.