The National Review has just published another article written by attorney and former regulator Ronald L. Rubin.
In this latest article, which is really more of a novel, Rubin offers a scathing and wide-ranging insider's view of how Elizabeth Warren and her team crafted the agency in a way that would insulate it from meaningful Republican oversight for many years, of how they pursued unethical - and potentially illegal - hiring practices, of the early development of policies of stonewalling and secrecy, and first hand evidence from an (educated) outsider's perspective that things don't seem to have changed a whole lot since those early days.
Here is an example,
Job seekers interviewed with two pairs of attorneys and most senior managers. All Office of Enforcement employees were invited to attend the weekly hiring meetings, where interviewers summarized the applicants. Any attendee could voice an opinion before each candidate’s verdict was rendered; even a single strong objection was usually fatal. Note taking was strictly forbidden, and interviewers destroyed their records after the meetings. I never missed one.
Clear verbal and non-verbal signals quickly emerged. The most common, “I don’t think he believes in the mission” was code for “he might not be a Democrat.” At one meeting, Kent Markus, a former Clinton-administration lawyer who had joined the bureau as Cordray’s deputy, remarked that an applicant under consideration “sounds like a good liberal to me.” After a few seconds of nervous laughter and eye contact around the room, Markus recognized his slip. “I didn’t say that,” he awkwardly joked. The episode so unnerved one attorney that he never attended another hiring meeting.
A knowledgeable friend within the bureau once debriefed me on the unit that handled oversight requests. The unwritten policy of its supervising attorneys, and in particular of one former Democratic Senate staffer, was “never give them what they ask for.” When the inspector general complained to Cordray about that supervisor, Cordray took no action because she had accepted a job in the White House. Another former Democratic staffer replaced her.
Soon, a career professional in the unit who had resisted pressure to engage in witness coaching and other unethical practices was reprimanded for insubordination and reassigned. The inspector general investigated and issued a report to Cordray that concluded the reprimand was unwarranted and the supervisors had engaged in obstruction. My own experience as a House Financial Services Committee staffer in 2015 left me no doubt the debriefing was accurate.
There is A LOT more. It's called, The Tragic Downfall of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. You can read it here.
We've posted about other articles Rubin has recently written, including one about how the CFPB imposes the maximum possible fines by reviewing the financial statements of enforcement targets, and another about the CFPB's failure behind the Wells Fargo scandal.
You can find Ronald Rubin here.