Twenty-seven consumer groups have blasted the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s Task Force on Consumer Financial Protection Law, saying that its membership is biased and that its work is ill-suited during the coronavirus crisis.
“We view this task force as illegitimate, one-sided, and highly inappropriate during a pandemic,” the groups, including the NAACP, the Consumer Federation of America, and Public Citizen, said in a letter filed with the CFPB. “The task force consists solely of five outside conservative academics and industry lawyers, including those who have represented payday lenders or others in CFPB enforcement actions and consumer litigation, and has no consumer representatives.”
CFPB Director Kathy Kraninger appointed the task force earlier this year. Its job is to study what changes may be needed in consumer financial protection law. The agency solicited comment on what issues the task force should explore. However, the group has been hounded by allegations that Kraninger chose opponents of a strict financial regulatory regime.
The 27 groups said they are aware of several well-qualified academics who were rejected for membership.
They added that at a time when the bureau and the organizations should be focused on the impact of the pandemic, they instead had to address broad, far-reaching questions about how to best protect consumers.
“Many of the questions the task force poses hint at deeply disturbing ideological preconceptions that focus more on undoing consumer protections than enhancing them,” they said.
Kraninger had been asked to extend the comment period past Monday, the deadline for submissions.
The groups said that the task force’s questions repeated many of the issues they had commented on in past requests from the CFPB. They attached more than 500 pages of comments the groups made in response to requests by former Acting CFPB Director Mick Mulvaney in 2018.