Portman Must Hold the Line Against Cordray, Support the Shelby 44

Sen. Robert J. Portman (R.-Ohio)

UPDATE: [Statement by Sen. Robert J. Portman (R.-Ohio) on Cordray nomination, CFPB.]

Central to the President’s program of transforming America into a European-style Socialist country, is the creation of a new bureaucracy with broad powers to regulate financial transactions coupled with stilted oversight by Congress or the executive branch.

This new agency, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), is nightmare for private enterprise as much as it is an erotic dream for the expanding class of federal apparatchiks driving up Washington real estate prices.

The CFPB is the primary moving part of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. The two authors of this sanctimonious and suffocating reform bill could have done more, however, to reform the blurring of their personal happiness and civic responsibilities?

Dodd was the recipient of multiple sweetheart mortgages from the unlamented Countrywide Home Loans, while Frank worked his own sweetheart deal by obtaining his consort with an executive position at Fannie Mae, a government buyer and seller of residential mortgages.

There is one restraint holding back this monster agency from its war against what the liberals blithely call “unfettered capitalism,” the unconfirmed state of the CFPB’s first director.

Until its first director is sworn in, the CFPB remains a part of the Treasury Department, and still subject to congressional and presidential oversight.

After the new director takes the reins, the agency will immediately transfers to the Federal Reserve for administrative purposes, but the Federal Reserve have no real authority over the CFPB. Although, the agency is required to make reports to the House and Senate committees, Congress has no direct authority over the operations of the agency.

Because the director serves a five-year term, his term will overlap presidential terms and he cannot be removed by the President.

The CFPB is an agency created outside the regular constitutional framework and relatively immune to democratic pressures. A virtually independent force, its only senior authority is the new Financial Stability Oversight Council, with 10 voting members and five non-voting members, who may vote to stop an action by the CFPB by a minimum of seven of 10 votes.

The director-designate awaiting Senate confirmation is Richard C. Cordray, a radical consumerist from Ohio. Cordray was not the President’s first choice that was leftist Elizabeth Warren, the self-proclaimed mid-wife to the Occupy movement, who instead chose to challenge Sen. Scott P. Brown (R.-Mass.).

Of course, it must be noted that Brown voted to create the CFPB after he won concessions for contributors in the financial services industry and he has endorsed Cordray.

Sen. Richard Shelby (R.-Al.) is leading a bloc of 44 Republicans committed to stop the Cordray nomination. But, as the months drag on, there are signs this bulwark is starting to crack.

GOP cloakrooms are rife with rumors that Ohio Sen. Robert J. Portman, one of the Shelby 44, is looking for a way to support fellow Buckeye Cordray.

We may never know Brown’s price, he was never part of the Shelby 44 and he no longer functions as a member of the Republican Caucus.

What we do know is that whatever inducements could persuade Portman to abandon his comrades, the Tea Party, they will never outweigh the criticism he will earn for breaking the fetters of this hideous nomination. 

In the end, this battle is not about Cordray, the man. Though, he is philosophically-flawed. We oppose him because this monster agency cannot be unleashed upon the nation with the confirmation of its critical first director.