Sen. Enzi: The CFPB is going to act like the “Google Earth” of all financial transactions

posted at 1:21 pm on July 17, 2013 by Erika Johnsen

I mentioned last night that the Senate finally went ahead and confirmed Richard Cordray as the director of the Consumer Financial “Protection” Bureau created by the Dodd Frank act, with seventeen Republicans switching course and giving the go-ahead. Republicans had been holding out hoping to nab some reforms to the new bureau to prevent what will amount to some pretty free-wheeling authority to administer Financial Vigilante Justice, maybe with at least annual appropriations from Congress and a larger bipartisan board instead of a single director, but the “nuclear option” fallout did the trick for Democrats.

Sen. Lindsey Graham said that while he supports more changes to the CFPB, the Dodd-Frank banking law that created the agency is the law of the land.

“The law is the law, and you know, if you don’t like the law, repeal it,” the South Carolina Republican said. “You know, that’s my view. I just think using an appointment to change a law is not the right use of an appointment.”

Perhaps. But the fact remains that the CFPB is going to have unprecedented powers, and a lot of them, to regulate the financial sector at will — and not many assurances of transparency to go with them. As Sen. Mike Enzi noted on the floor prior to the Cordray’s confirmation on Tuesday, if the NSA’s actions have you ticked off, well then, get a load of this bureau.

Why is this nomination important? Once the director is approved… by the Senate, we no longer have any control over a bureau that collects everyone’s financial records in detail and can cancel a loan 180 days even if both parties to the loan are happy. … The reason this is of the utmost concern to me and has been for the past three years is the lack of Congressional oversight and blatant privacy intrusions of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureaua, the CFPB. … I said, this bill was supposed to be about regulating Wall Street. Instead, it’s creating a Google Earth on every financial transaction. That’s right, the government will be able to see every detail of your finances. Your permission? Not needed. They can look at your transactions from the 50,000 foot perspective, or they can look right down to the tiny details of the time and place where you pulled cash out of an ATM. … If your data’s being collected, you do not have the option to opt out. Nor does the CFPB need any kind of permission from you to gather your personal financial information.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren — who basically created the Consumer Financial “Protection” Bureau from scratch — felt a bit differently following Cordray’s confirmation yesterday, as you might imagine. Ahem.

A few thoughts here:

1. Uhm… ‘legally obligated to produce reports, comply with audits, testify before Congress,’ etcetera? Kind of like how the Obama administration is already legally required to do all those things, and so often doesn’t?

2. I still find it singularly hilarious that Democrats continually try to paint Republicans as the collusion-loving party of big banks and their lobbyists. Puh-lease. President Obama loves big bankers and their lobbyists — in fact, he loves them so much, he wrote them an entire gigantic law that so kindly helps them in squashing the market-inherent regulator of competition.

3. Pretty convenient that big-government Democrats have had greedy, cheating, Wall Street fat cats to blame the entire financial crisis on, so they don’t have to actually going about reforming Freddie Mae or Fannie Mac or the many facets of the federal government that played such a major role. Because that would implicate the federal government, but more government is always good! Amirite?


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