Consumer groups filed suit against the Consumer Federal Protection Bureau Tuesday, asking a federal judge to enjoin the agency from operating its controversial Task Force on Consumer Financial Law.
The National Association of Consumer Advocates and the United States Public Interest Research Group joined Kathleen Engel who was rejected for a position on the taskforce, saying the task force violates federal law governing how agency advisory committees are formed.
“The biased composition of the Taskforce not only undermines its purpose—it is unlawful,” they said in the suit filed in the U.S. District Court for Massachusetts.
CFPB Director Kathy Kraninger organized the task force earlier this year; it is supposed to examine current consumer financial protection rules and laws to determine if they are effective. The task force has solicited public comment on that issue.
“The fundamental flaw of the Taskforce is its single-minded focus on protecting the industry that the CFPB is supposed to regulate,” the groups said, in the suit.
They added that the taskforce has held closed-session meetings without providing any notice to the public—a violation of federal law, the groups said.
They are joined in the suit by Kathleen Engel, a professor at the Suffolk University law school in Massachusetts. Engel, according to the suit, has served on Federal Reserve advisory and research groups and on the CFPB’s consumer advisory board.
Engel said she applied for a position on the CFPB taskforce but was rejected following an interview she said was conducted in an “inquisitorial manner” intended to gauge her positions on consumer financial protection. She added that she never was asked about her qualifications or experience.