The North Carolina Attorney General signed on to a letter Thursday with 15 other states’ attorney generals calling on President Donald Trump’s administration to respect the investigative authority of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).
Attorney General Josh Stein was joined on the letter by the attorneys general of California, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, Minnesota, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, and Washington in sending the message to the Trump Administration asking that the investigative powers be preserved under the CFPB.
“The CFPB exists to protect people from financial services industry abuse,” Stein said. “It must have the tools it needs to do that important job. 2008 was not that long ago – we must remember what can happen without a strong watchdog on the job.”
In a release Stein said, “Since its inception, the CFPB has issued civil investigative demands to companies and individuals who may be violating the law and taking advantage of consumers. Civil investigative demands are a critical law enforcement tool that enable the CFPB to carry out investigations by obtaining documents, financial records, and company policies and procedures. However, the Trump Administration is now considering weakening the CFPB’s use of civil investigative demands.”
The letter is being sent in response to a request for information sent out by CFPB as part of a process to gauge efficiency in the system by Acting-Director Mick Mulvaney.
According to the CFPB, the Bureau is “seeking information to help assess the overall efficiency and effectiveness of its processes related to the enforcement of federal consumer financial law.”
The letter is calling on the Trump Administration to preserve CFPB’s investigative authority, and while the Request for Information did not talk about eliminating that authority, it did request comments on the Bureau’s investigative and enforcement policies.
The request is built on a goal of reducing burdens on the system and the public, while retaining valuable results that the Bureau provides.
In the letter the attorneys general lay out four key points that they believe make a case for retaining the authority to investigate.
Those points are that:
- The CFPB’s implementation of its investigative authority was non-controversial and based on established law enforcement practices;
- The legislative grant of civil investigative demand authority allows agencies to fulfill their mandates;
- Judicial supervision ensures that the rights of those who receive civil investigative demands are respected; and
- The CFPB has used its investigative authority responsibly and effectively.
This is the third in a series of comment periods focusing in on certain aspects of the CFPB and the next comment period will open next week focusing on supervisory practices within the CFPB.