Consumer Advocates Declare the Taskforce on Federal Consumer Financial Law’s Report “the Fruit of a Poisonous Tree”

Virtual Court Hearing Scheduled for Weds., January 6th

Washington, D.C. — Today, CFPB Director Kathy Kraninger’s Taskforce on Federal Consumer Financial Law released a report detailing its findings and recommendations to CFPB leadership. The compromised report is the product of a Taskforce that was unlawfully formed and operated. The CFPB stacked the illegitimate Taskforce with people who champion deregulation and excluded those who prioritize protecting consumers. The Taskforce does not serve a compelling public interest, as federal law requires, and it has unlawfully conducted its work behind closed doors, leading Democracy Forward and distinguished consumer advocates to file suit against the CFPB.

The unlawful Taskforce is led by representatives of the financial services industry who are long-time proponents of deregulation. It is chaired by Todd Zywicki, an industry consultant who has called the CFPB itself a “tragic” failure and long opposed the agency’s very existence and purpose. Learn more about the Taskforce members that produced today’s report here.

In response to today’s release of the report, Democracy Forward, the National Association of Consumer Advocates, U.S. Public Interest Research Group, and consumer law expert, Professor Kathleen Engel, issued the following statement:

“From day one, Director Kraninger and her Taskforce on Federal Consumer Financial Law have flouted federal law. The Taskforce fundamentally lacked the credentials to take on a complete review of federal consumer financial laws as it was supposedly tasked to do. Now, in the Trump administration’s waning days, this illegal advisory group is advocating to transform critical consumer protections.

“The Taskforce’s report recommends changes to consumer protections that will prove harmful to Americans struggling to weather the economic fallout of the ongoing pandemic.

“Developed without transparency or a fairly balanced membership, the report revealed today is the fruit of a poisonous tree. The CFPB should make public all records used in preparing the report, should not be permitted to rely on the report’s recommendations in future agency actions, and should label the report the result of an unlawful committee. We’ll continue to fight for these results in court.”

Learn more about the unlawful Taskforce and our suit to shutter it here.

The parties will appear remotely for oral arguments before Hon. Jennifer C. Boal of the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts at 2:30pm EST on Wednesday, January 6, 2021. Register here.

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Democracy Forward is a nonprofit legal organization that scrutinizes Executive Branch activity across policy areas, represents clients in litigation to challenge unlawful actions, and educates the public when the White House or federal agencies break the law.

The National Association of Consumer Advocates (NACA) is a nonprofit association of private and public sector attorneys, legal services attorneys, law professors, and law students whose primary focus involves the protection and representation of consumers. NACA is actively engaged in promoting a fair and open marketplace that forcefully protects the rights of consumers, particularly those of modest means.

U.S. PIRG, the federation of state Public Interest Research Groups, is a consumer group that stands up to powerful interests whenever they threaten our health and safety, our financial security, or our right to fully participate in our democratic society. U.S. PIRG is part of The Public Interest Network, which operates and supports organizations committed to a shared vision of a better world and a strategic approach to getting things done.

Kathleen Engel is a prominent scholar of consumer law and finance. She has written extensively on the law and economics of mortgage markets, as well as the subprime crisis, and she co-authored a prize-winning book on the 2008 financial crisis. Engel is a Research Professor of Law at Suffolk University and has held a number of public service positions, including on the Federal Reserve Board’s Consumer Advisory Council, the CFPB’s Consumer Advisory Board, and Vice-Chair of the Board of Consumer Reports.

Press Contacts

Charisma Troiano
(202) 701-1781
[email protected]

Ira Rheingold
(202) 452-1989, x101
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Ed Mierzwinski
(571) 228-6135
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Kathleen Engel
(617-994-6831)
[email protected]