U.S. Chamber of Commerce Warns About Overreach in the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau | Eastern North Carolina Now | Concerns over how bureau director Rohit Chopra may have an outsized influence on the economy

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    Publisher's Note: This post appears here courtesy of the John Locke Foundation. The author of this post is Brittany Raymer.

    The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has launched a six-figure campaign against the little-known Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and its director Rohit Chopra over concerns that it is needlessly interfering in America's financial services industry, which it argues would "harm consumer choice and innovation."

    The brainchild of Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., the CFPB was established in 2011 and aims "to make consumer financial markets work for consumers responsible providers, and the economy as a whole. We protect consumers from unfair, deceptive, or abusive practices and take action against companies that break the law."

    That may sound well and good, but U.S. Chamber of Commerce has argued that it goes too far. In an online campaign, the "world's largest business organization" argues that the progressive and left-leaning ideologies of its current director Rohit Chopra will have a damaging effect on businesses and innovation.

    On its website, the organization explains: "The Chamber's campaign is specifically objecting to several unlawful actions including Chopra's intentions to change rules without accountability, injecting great uncertainty into the market therefore causing financial companies to limit the types of mortgages, car loans, and personal credit they can offer consumers. Chopra has also proposed outright bans on certain products and has stated his intention to restructure the industry, ultimately hurting consumers by limiting choice and diminishing competition."

    Given the current state of the economy and a looming recession, a government agency with little congressional oversight that is potentially interfering in the financial sector isn't exactly what the country needs.

    "Director Chopra is attempting to use the CFPB to radically reshape the American financial services sector," said Neil Bradley, Executive Vice President and Chief Policy Officer at the Chamber.

    "Rohit Chopra has an outsized view of the CFPB's role and the director's power. By willfully mischaracterizing the state of competition in the market, Chopra is laying the groundwork to force the financial services sector to comport with his personal vision of the appropriate size of companies and what products and services should be offered and under what conditions. No previous CFPB Director has thought they had such power. Rohit Chopra's radical agenda and reckless actions will only hurt consumers, business, and our economy and he needs to be held accountable."

    In addition to its six-figure digital ad campaign, the Chamber is also filing six Freedom of Information Act requests and issuing two letters from its litigation center.

    "He is more aggressive than his predecessors. I think he has been willing to pick fights his predecessors wouldn't have picked. He wants to do something that puts him in the news every couple of days," Hilary Miller, a consumer financial services attorney, said in a statement to Fox News.

    Some reported examples of Chopra's overreach includes "deputizing states' attorney generals to enforce CFPB regulations," and pushing the "FDIC, the Federal Reserve, the FTC and the Justice Department to follow the consumer agency's enforcement views."

    In a statement to Fox News, Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., said, "The CFPB began its existence under the Obama administration as a lawless and unaccountable agency. Unfortunately, under Director Chopra, the CFPB is more out of control than ever before. It's once again pursuing a far-left agenda by abusing - and exceeding - its authorities."

    The CFPB has come under the ire of conservative commentators before. In 2017 for the National Review, Ben Shapiro wrote: "The CFPB was always a misbegotten enterprise. It was specifically designed to act as an agency free of constitutional restraints. There's a reason the D.C. Court of Appeals described its set-up as ridiculously unconstitutional, stating, 'when measured in terms of unilateral power, the Director of the CFPB is the single most powerful official in the entire US Government, other than the President. Indeed, within his jurisdiction, the Director of the CFPB can be considered even more powerful than the President.'"

    It seems like things haven't changed, but the possibility of a government agency burdening financial services and other institutions with more regulation as the country barrels towards recession is concerning.

    For more about the importance of keeping burdensome government regulations under control, click here.
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