Federal Financial Watchdog a Hotbed of Democratic Donors

Employees of a federal agency that Sen. Elizabeth Warren helped create gave the Massachusetts Democrat $13,000 for her campaign committee.

Employees of the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) also gave $20,000 to President Obama’s re-election campaign, and $10,000 to Democrat Hillary Clinton’s campaign.

“Right now, the bureau is a rogue agency that dishes out malicious financial policy and creates new rules and regulations at whim without real congressional oversight.”

A complete report of federal campaign contributions made by the bureau’s employees was obtained by LifeZette from Capitol Hill staff who wished to remain anonymous.

The report shows not a dime was given to any Republican campaigns or committees. It is not uncommon for political contributions from federal employees to go primarily to Democratic campaign coffers — but it is highly unusual for the donations from civil servants of an entire agency to go exclusively to one party.

The donations to Democrats go beyond political appointees who might leave during a change of administration and permeate through all ranks of the agency.

“The likelihood that the agency will remain highly Democratically partisan into the future seems very high,” the report says.

In other words, the bureau has long-term employees dedicated to a mission that is viewed as partisan and which Republican congressional leadership wants to abort. It isn’t surprising that the GOP wants the bureau completely abolished.

Federal employees are forbidden from engaging in on-the-clock political activity, but they are allowed to make donations to federal and state campaigns.

And the report shows the fledgling bureau is stocked with partisan Democrats eager to donate to Democratic lawmakers. The financial contributions prove that "personnel is policy" — that is, who you appoint and hire help you implement policy.

But they also help keep your campaign account well-oiled.

It's likely not surprising that the bureau is populated, seemingly exclusively, with Democrats. The bureau was founded with help from Warren following the Great Recession of 2007-2009. Warren advised President Obama on the Wall Street reform bill known as Dodd-Frank.

But the bureau is viewed by Republicans as an unaccountable body born of overreaching reform efforts.

One of the congressional leaders pushing to rein in the bureau is Sen. David Perdue, a Republican from Georgia.

“Senator Perdue has been working to bring the CFPB under congressional oversight and will continue working to bring more reforms to this unaccountable agency,” Caroline Vanvick, Perdue's spokeswoman, told LifeZette in an email.

Perdue says the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau was spawned from the "disastrous" Dodd-Frank financial regulation law.

The bureau, with its powers to make policy and rules, usurps congressional authority, Republicans believe.

"Right now, the CFPB is a rogue agency that dishes out malicious financial policy and creates new rules and regulations at whim without real congressional oversight," Perdue said last year when he introduced a bill to reform the agency. "The American people, through Congress, deserve a closer look at the CFPB and how its actions will impact consumers."

The bureau has numerous critics who say it makes consequential consumer financial policy — normally a congressional power.

The Taxpayers Protection Alliance says the bureau operates outside of the jurisdiction of Congress, which most federal agencies operate within, and continues to be appropriated taxpayer funds "without the proper congressional oversight."

And Republicans say the bureau forces businesses to spend an inordinate amount of time on paperwork. Some businesses have stopped offering certain financial services out of fear of the bureau.

Perdue may have his most important ally in President-Elect Donald Trump. Trump has suggested abolishing the bureau and reconfiguring or repealing Dodd-Frank.

On Wednesday, Trump's candidate for treasury secretary, Steve Mnuchin, told CNBC that Dodd-Frank prevents some banks from lending. He said the 2010 bill, which includes authorization for the bureau, is needlessly complicated and byzantine.

"The No. 1 priority is going to be to make sure banks lend," said Mnuchin.

Last Modified: December 1, 2016, 1:23 pm

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