Richard Cordray, director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), plans to run for Ohio governor in 2018. But the longtime Democrat is not leaving Washington quietly.
His agency is rushing to release a new rule targeting the payday loan industry, which provides short-term loans to low-income borrowers. Once the rule is released, the CFPB will require payday lenders to verify a borrower’s income, financial obligations, and track record before issuing any loan. This basically undermines the payday lending process, getting in the way of low-income Americans and the quick cash they need.
The timing is also very curious. As he prepares for his gubernatorial run, Cordray needs to ingratiate himself with Ohio’s Democratic base. By issuing payday rules and other financial regulations, Cordray can build up the liberal credentials his campaign platform needs. But this calls into question the Hatch Act, which prohibits federal employees from engaging in political activity. If Cordray is using his position at the CFPB to score political points, then he would be breaking the law—a legitimate reason for President Trump to fire him.
Because of the CFPB’s unconstitutional structure, Cordray can only be fired “for cause.” Illegal activity is certainly cause enough.