HSFC Chairwoman Waters Accuses CFPB Director Kraninger of Politicizing Enforcement Team

Dec 30, 2019Congressional Legislation, News

Earlier this month, Representative Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), Chairwoman of the House Financial Services Committee, sent a letter to Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) Director Kathleen Kraninger accusing her of politicizing the Bureau. The letter came after reports surfaced that a Trump Administration political appointee, Thomas Ward, was the leading candidate to head the Bureau’s enforcement efforts.

“The potential selection of Mr. Ward for Enforcement Director raises serious concerns about whether the Consumer Bureau has adhered to civil service laws and OPM guidance governing the hiring of political appointees into career positions,” the letter reads.

The letter also noted that federal agencies must seek written approval from the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) before appointing a political candidate to a non-political excepted service position—a classification that the Enforcement Director role falls under. In addition, Waters highlighted a memorandum sent in February 2018 which states that “political appointees . . . must not be given preference or special advantages . . . [and that] OPM requires agencies to seek our approval prior to appointing any current or former political appointee to a permanent position (without time limits) in the civil service.”

Chairwoman Waters wrote that the committee wants to ensure “that personnel actions in the civil service remain free from improper political influence and comply with all relevant civil service laws, rules, and regulations.” Finally, the letter concludes by requesting to review records that include communications between the CFPB, OPM, and the Department of Justice, as well as the CFPB’s communication with Ward regarding the Enforcement Director position.

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