The Warren Betrayal

Just four days before the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is set to launch, President Obama will finally name a director. Obama has chosen former Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray to lead the entity which Elizabeth Warren envisioned and muscled through Congress in the wake of the financial disaster as part of the Dodd-Frank Act. Cordray was hired by Warren to be the Chief of Enforcement, but on Monday Obama will put him in charge, sending Warren home.

Obama’s decision to bypass Warren, the Harvard Professor who has spent her career showing how the “tricks and traps” in the fine print of financial products have harmed the poor and “middle class families,” is sure to anger consumers and their watchdog advocates who have supported her leadership role.

Warren has worked night and day to set up the Bureau by meeting with stakeholders across the country and hiring some of the best talent in consumer protection to get the Bureau off the ground. Obama, who chose not to nominate Warren last fall but instead to make her an Assistant to the President and a “Special Advisor” to the Treasury Secretary, has let her twist in the wind as the banking industry has waged a relentless assault on the Bureau, which Obama initially supported as an independent agency.

Since the mid-term election changed the political leadership of the House of Representatives, Wall Street has demanded that Congress revisit Dodd-Frank and has sought a revision of the funding and composition of the Bureau. On May 2, 2011, 44 Republican Senators signed a letter stating they will refuse to confirm anyone nominated to the position unless the Bureau is restructured. They seek to have the regulator’s funding attached to the political appropriations process instead of being tithed to the Federal Reserve’s budget as it currently is, and to install a five-member commission instead of a single regulator. These moves are patently designed to defund, delay, and destroy potential regulatory initiatives by a Bureau that was created by legislation passed only a year ago.

Warren has been hauled up to the Hill to testify in front of House oversight committees even though the Bureau has not even had a chance to become operational; those hearings have turned Warren into a punching bag for partisan dissent. Her shabby treatment as a House witness has led numerous members of Congress to publicly apologize to her for the behavior by other members of Congress. On June 2, 2011, 89 members of the House wrote a letter urging the President to nominate Elizabeth Warren.

Obama has dithered. His Wall Street supporters don’t like Warren and his political fundraising is underway with a bang. Elizabeth Warren is an aggressive, savvy and earnest advocate on behalf of consumers everywhere and she deserved to be nominated to this position for which she has worked tirelessly. Cordray, her lieutenant, is sure to carry on the work, but Obama has shamefully robbed Warren of the opportunity to run the entity she championed to make a difference for the American people.

Theresa Amato, a public interest lawyer, is the executive director of Citizen Works and the director of its Fair Contracts Project at www.faircontracts.org.


More articles by:
March 21, 2018
Paul Street
Time is Running Out: Who Will Protect Our Wrecked Democracy from the American Oligarchy?
Mel Goodman
The Great Myth of the So-Called “Adults in the Room”
Chris Floyd
Stumbling Blocks: Tim Kaine and the Bipartisan Abettors of Atrocity
Eric Draitser
The Political Repression of the Radical Left in Crimea
Patrick Cockburn
Erdogan Threatens Wider War Against the Kurds
John Steppling
It is Us
Thomas Knapp
Death Penalty for Drug Dealers? Be Careful What You Wish for, President Trump
Manuel García, Jr.
Why I Am Leftist (Vietnam War)
Isaac Christiansen
A Left Critique of Russiagate
Howard Gregory
The Unemployment Rate is an Inadequate Reporter of U.S. Economic Health
Ramzy Baroud
Who Wants to Kill Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah?
Roy Morrison
Trouble Ahead: The Trump Administration at Home and Abroad
Roger Hayden
Too Many Dead Grizzlies
George Wuerthner
The Lessons of the Battle to Save the Ancient Forests of French Pete
Binoy Kampmark
Fictional Free Trade and Permanent Protectionism: Donald Trump’s Economic Orthodoxy
Rivera Sun
Think Outside the Protest Box
March 20, 2018
Jonathan Cook
US Smooths Israel’s Path to Annexing West Bank
Jeffrey St. Clair
How They Sold the Iraq War
Chris Busby
Cancer, George Monbiot and Nuclear Weapons Test Fallout
Nick Alexandrov
Washington’s Invasion of Iraq at Fifteen
David Mattson
Wyoming Plans to Slaughter Grizzly Bears
Paul Edwards
My Lai and the Bad Apples Scam
Julian Vigo
The Privatization of Water and the Impoverishment of the Global South
Mir Alikhan
Trump and Pompeo on Three Issues: Paris, Iran and North Korea
Seiji Yamada
Preparing For Nuclear War is Useless
Gary Leupp
Brennan, Venality and Turpitude
Martha Rosenberg
Why There’s a Boycott of Ben & Jerry’s on World Water Day, March 22
March 19, 2018
Henry Heller
The Moment of Trump
John Davis
Pristine Buildings, Tarnished Architect
Uri Avnery
The Fake Enemy
Patrick Cockburn
The Fall of Afrin and the Next Phase of the Syrian War
Nick Pemberton
The Democrats Can’t Save Us
Nomi Prins 
Jared Kushner, RIP: a Political Obituary for the President’s Son-in-Law
Georgina Downs
The Double Standards and Hypocrisy of the UK Government Over the ‘Nerve Agent’ Spy Poisoning
Dean Baker
Trump and the Federal Reserve
Colin Todhunter
The Strategy of Tension Towards Russia and the Push to Nuclear War
Kevin Zeese - Margaret Flowers
US Empire on Decline
Ralph Nader
Ahoy America, Give Trump a Taste of His Own Medicine Starting on Trump Imitation Day
Robert Dodge
Eliminate Nuclear Weapons by Divesting from Them
Laura Finley
Shame on You, Katy Perry
Weekend Edition
March 16, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Michael Uhl
The Tip of the Iceberg: My Lai Fifty Years On
Bruce E. Levine
School Shootings: Who to Listen to Instead of Mainstream Shrinks
Mel Goodman
Caveat Emptor: MSNBC and CNN Use CIA Apologists for False Commentary
Paul Street
The Obama Presidency Gets Some Early High Historiography
Kathy Deacon
Me, My Parents and Red Scares Long Gone