Report Was Produced by an Unlawful Taskforce That Broke Federal Law at Every Turn
Washington, D.C. — In a supplemental brief filed in court late Wednesday, consumer advocates argued that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) unlawful Taskforce must be held accountable for flouting federal law and that the court has authority to bar use of the 900-page Taskforce report as part of a lawsuit the groups filed. The report, which was unlawfully crafted behind closed doors by champions of financial deregulation, was released on January 5 in an effort to legitimize industry-friendly policies. It is the product of a Taskforce that has violated federal transparency law at every turn.
In a joint statement, the groups said:
The Trump administration broke federal law to advance the interests of the financial industry. Now, it’s trying to escape accountability. Trump’s CFPB Director, Kathy Kraninger, created a Taskforce that was unnecessary, stacked it with representatives of the financial services industry — while excluding consumer advocates — and failed to adhere to transparency requirements. The report, like the Taskforce that created it, is unlawful, and the CFPB should be barred from relying on it.
The Plaintiffs’ preliminary review of the report reveals, as they state in Wednesday’s brief, that the report “relies on biased reasoning to offer many recommendations that would weaken critical consumer protections.”
Democracy Forward, the National Association of Consumer Advocates, U.S. Public Interest Research Group, and consumer law expert, Professor Kathleen Engel filed suit on June 16, 2020, in the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts. David A. Nicholas, Of Counsel to Wolf Popper LLP, is Massachusetts counsel on the case. Read the original complaint here.
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.
(202) 452-1989, x101