Kansas Attorneys General to U.S. Supreme; CFPB is unconstitutional

Politics

FILE- In this Aug. 27, 2018, file photo a sign stands at the construction site for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s headquarters in Washington. The Supreme Court is stepping into a years-long, politically charged fight over the federal consumer finance watchdog agency that was created in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis. The justices agreed Oct. 18, 2019, to review an appeals court decision that upheld the structure of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File)

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNW) – Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt has taken issue with The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau since its inception, and he’s letting the U.S. Supreme Court know. 

Schmidt, along with 12 other attorneys general, filed a brief in December arguing that Congress lacked authority to declare the CFPB an “independent”‘ federal agency lead by a single individual not overseen by the president. 

Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt_283739
FILE: Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt

The group believes the structure of the CFPB violates the U.S. Constitution. 

“The CFPB’s structure is virtually unprecedented,” the collection wrote in their brief. “To date, this Court has never ruled upon the legality of an ‘independent agency exercising substantial executive authority’ that ‘has . . . been headed by a single person.'”

Created in 2010 under Dodd Frank’s Title X, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau was transferred much of the authority to regulate consumer financial products and services that were previously vested in other federal agencies. 

However, unlike those former agencies headed by a group of commissioners, the CFPB is structured to be led by a single director appointed by the president and confirmed by Senate. The Director would serve a five-year term only to be removed by the president for inefficiency, neglect of duty, or malfeasance or wrongdoing in the office. 

The brief continues to argue that the constitution “forbids concentrating such unchecked authority in a sole, unaccountable administrator charged with overseeing an agency that wields executive power,” and that such a structure threatens the ability for states to enforce strong consumer protections. 

Click to open a PDF copy of the brief.

Schmidt noted he has argued CFPB’s structure is unconstitutional since the agency was created in 2010 but only now has a case addressing that question reached the U.S. Supreme Court.

The case is Seila Law LLC v. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, No. 19-7. A copy of the brief is available at https://bit.ly/2SvTnbJ. The Court is scheduled to hear oral arguments in the case in March. 

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