Maine Tea Party Leader Upset If Snowe Backs Cordray


Sen. Olympia J. Snowe (R.-Maine)

A leader of the Maine Tea Party expressed anger, but not surprise at reports from Capitol Hill, and free-market advocate sources that the senior senator from Maine today reneged on her May 5 committment to oppose the confirmation of Richard Cordray to be the first director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), unless the bureau is reformed.

Sen. Olympia J. Snowe (R.-Maine) signed a letter to the president with 43 other Republican senators in an effort led by Sen. Richard Shelby (R.-Al.) to reconfigure the CFPB, which as a part of the Dodd-Frank financial regulation law was designed to be relatively immnue from congressional and presidential oversight.

There have been no changes to the bureau, since the letter. Among the problems cited in the letter is the five-year term designed to overlap the president’s and the president’s inability to fire the director. Upon the confirmation of its first director, the bureau becomes a part of the Federal Reserve, but the Fed will have no oversight of the bureau either.

The founder of the Maine Tea Party, Peter R. “Pete the Carpenter” Harring, said Snowe should not support the CFPB, which is another expansion of big government.

“Well, to be honest with you, I not much of a fan of Olympia Snowe’s anyway,” he said.

Harring said the CFPB is dangerous because it lacks proper oversight. “Who’s looking after them anyway? Isn’t that special?”

Harring said the CFPB strcture is similiar to agencies in Maine.

“We have directors of various departments, their terms overlap and the governor doesn’t have the authority to get rid of them. It’s very complicated and very frustrating, because once you get somebody in there, you’re kinda stuck with them,” he said.

In the last year, Snowe has called Harring to convince him of her conservatism, he said. Snowe faces reelection in 2012.

“Well, she is trying to cozy up to the Tea Party movement now, because she is coming up on reelection,” he said.

“She sells herself as doing the job that the people of Maine want her to do,” he said.

“Lately, she has been trying to swing herself as more conservative, and more in-line with what the Republicans want her to do,” he said. “Her voting record sure doesn’t reflect that.”