The Senate held a hearing today at which Richard Cordray testified in his supposed capacity as “Director” of the CFPB. Jeb Hensarling, Chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, on the other hand has refused to invite Cordray to testify in light of the DC Circuit’s Noel Canning decision invalidating the NLRB recess appointments:
President Obama installed Cordray in the position in early 2012 using a controversial recess appointment. A federal court has invalidated three other recess appointments Obama made on the same day, calling into question Cordray’s future.
“Absent contrary guidance from the United States Supreme Court, you do not meet the statutory requirements of a validly serving director of the CFPB, and cannot be recognized as such,” Hensarling wrote to Cordray on Monday.
Amazingly, CFPB spokesmen continue to insist that Noel Canning does not apply to Cordray’s improper recess appointment although they have provided no explanation as to why it does not.
In my opinion Hensarling is doing exactly the right thing here. Absent an injunction from Noel Canning taking effect it is abundantly clear that Richard Cordray is not the Director of the CFPB and I think it is appropriate for Congress to call the President on this.
I also hope that Hensarling’s action will embolden more private citizens to challenge the CFPB’s assertion of authority on the same basis until a Director is properly appointed.
Update: Chairman Hensarling’s press release and letter to the CFPB is available here.