(AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
The Consumer Finance Protection Bureau created a Taskforce on Federal Consumer Financial Law ostensibly to “modernize” consumer finance laws and regulations but excluded consumer protection experts. In selecting the Task Force’s membership, the CFPB rejected the applications of many consumer protection experts and advocates, including Suffolk Law Professor Kathleen Engel — a prominent scholar of consumer law and finance who has sat on the CFPB’s Consumer Advisory Board — and University of Minnesota Law Professor Prentiss Cox, who sat on the Bureau’s inaugural Consumer Advisory Board.
Instead, the Taskforce is stacked with members who have championed deregulation and opposed consumer protection measures, raising serious concerns that it will work against consumers’ interests. The industry-aligned advisory committee excludes consumer advocates, does not serve a public interest, and has conducted its work behind closed doors — all in violation of federal law.
“The Federal Consumer Financial Law Taskforce is the latest effort by a Trump appointee to outsource policymaking to private interests while excluding other voices. We’ve stopped them before, and we’re asking the court to stop them here. In the midst of an economic downturn, the CFPB should not be excluding consumer advocates from key policymaking conversations about how to protect American families.”
– Anne Harkavy, Democracy Forward Executive Director
We filed suit against the CFPB and Director Kathy Kraninger for violating the Federal Advisory Committee Act by failing to explain why the Taskforce is necessary, stacking it with only industry interests, and keeping the public out of Taskforce meetings. We’re representing the National Association of Consumer Advocates, U.S. Public Interest Research Group (PIRG), and consumer law expert Professor Kathleen Engel.
The suit was filed on June 16, 2020, in the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts. David A. Nicholas of Wolf Popper LLP is Massachusetts counsel on the case.