Wednesday, July 23, 2014
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LETTER: Protecting the Protection Bureau

Some days ago, the Daily Free Press reported on the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau’s plans to look into the financial products being promoted on BU’s campus. This campaign is one of many that the CFPB is engaged in across the country in efforts to engage, educate and protect consumers. Since its creation in 2011, the CFPB has worked diligently to repair and police the financial system which crashed our economy. In that short time this fledgling agency and its Director, Richard Cordray, have received praise for their even-handed and dedicated efforts, even from the industry they regulate. It’s hard to imagine anyone finding fault with this kind of common-sense action for the public good. Yet, in today’s brutal and bickering partisan climate, where there’s a will, there’s a way.

A recent controversial court case has breathed new life into an old fight over the CFPB and Cordray. On Jan. 25, a conservative D.C. Court of Appeals declared a number of President Obama’s 2011 recess appointments, including Richard Cordray, unconstitutional. By throwing out hundreds of years of precedent, this capricious decision has cast doubt on the legitimacy of Director Cordray’s appointment, and thereby the legitimacy of his and his agency’s actions. Opponents of the bureau have seized this shaky legal ground and are threatening to block the confirmation of Director Cordray (again) unless dramatic changes are made, which will undermine the work of the CFPB on the behalf of students like us as well as consumers across the country.

Whether or not you care about reforming the financial system (you should), knowing what kind of product BU is selling you (again, you probably should) or improving the student loan system (you definitely should), you have to care about this case. Blocking the confirmation of Richard Cordray has nothing to do with him or his ability to do his job. He’s already had a year to prove himself, and one-time skeptics are lining up to defend him.  What this obstructionism is about is an ideological disagreement that should have nothing to do with the day-to-day work of our government. Allowing pointless arguments like this to stop public servants from doing their jobs is a horrible way to govern, and we shouldn’t put up with it.

As corny as it sounds, if you agree, please let lawmakers know it. Being here in Washington D.C. has taught me that letters are read, concerns are noticed, and outside voices can ring loudly in the halls of the Capitol. Taking the couple minutes to draft an e-mail to your senator will make an impact and help steer this fight away from the stupidity which is dominating it. You can also sign a petition at http://action.civilrights.org/site/PageNavigator/AFRCordray2013.html

Stand up and protect Director Cordray, so he can get back to work protecting the rest of us.

Justin Kenney

CAS ‘14

jckenney@bu.edu

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