There is a nasty turf war going on in Washington between the individuals elected by the American people and a handful of characters that were elected by no one. At this sad point in time, it appears that those who came to power without being elected have grabbed chunks of power in a manner that significantly alters the basic tenets of democracy.
In the past few weeks, we have seen three cases where unelected officials have repeatedly ignored the voice of the nation’s elected representatives and the laws they passed while pursuing agendas that are detrimental to the success of the economy. Let’s call out these individuals with a reminder of how they arrogantly run government to fit their needs.
First, we have Richard Cordray, the director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). This failed politician, who was kicked out of office in Ohio by voters that rejected his mediocre work as the state’s attorney general, should not have been allowed into Washington at all – he was shoehorned into office by an illegal recess appointment that was declared unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court, and only received Senate confirmation when Harry Reid threatened to unilaterally rewrite the rules of the Senate if the Cordray appointment was stalled.
Since taking office, Cordray has turned his agency into a shakedown squad that exists solely to use vague “enforcement” actions as a means of siphoning millions from the nation’s financial institutions. A new wave of shakedowns is set to happen when the TRID regulations take effect in October, and Cordray has stubbornly ignored the pleas from more than 300 members of Congress and all of the financial services industry’s trade groups to put a good-faith period after the TRID debut date. After all, any company that makes the slightest mistake in its TRID procedures could easily enrich the Cordray coffers by hundreds of thousands – if not millions – of dollars.
Cordray has also blithely ignored sworn congressional testimony by members of his agency that the CFPB has engaged in blatant discrimination against its staff – as well as retribution against those that complain about this situation. The nickname that many CFPB staffers gave to the agency is “The Plantation” – and all that’s missing, it seems, is a second-hand Confederate flag hanging from the ceiling.
Second, we have Mel Watt, a one-time nonentity from the House of Representatives that was picked by President Obama to fill a four-year vacancy as the head of the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA). Although the FHFA was set up in 2008 with the clearly defined mission of keeping the salaries of the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac chiefs at $600,000 each, Watt utterly ignored that mission and unilaterally raised those salaries to a level where each executive could pocket up to $4 million a year in taxpayer funds.
Watt blandly defended his action by claiming that the “FHFA’s statutory responsibilities to ensure safety and soundness and a liquid national housing finance market.” But Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., a member of the Senate Banking Committee, was more cogent, claiming, “These extraordinary pay raises fly in the face of the legislative intent.”
Last and certainly not least, we have Janet Yellen, whose appointment to chair the Federal Reserve was predicated solely on her gender and not her abilities – and if you don’t believe me on that, ask Larry Summers! Yellen has been subpoenaed by the House Financial Services Committee to explain a 2012 leak of confidential Federal Open Market Committee deliberations, but she believes that she is not obliged to appear. Her excuse: it would interfere with an ongoing internal investigation by the Fed’s Office of Inspector General (OIG).
“The timing, pace, breadth, and nature of that investigation are solely the province of the OIG and the Department of Justice,” Yellen wrote to the committee’s leadership. “Because this investigation is currently active, the OIG has indicated to us and to you that providing access at this time to records and information related to the OIG and Department of Justice’s investigation would risk jeopardizing that ongoing criminal investigation, and that the Department of Justice shares that concern.”
Yellen added that she would only provide access to the information requested by the committee when it “will no longer impede [the] ongoing criminal investigation.”
Between Cordray, Watt and Yellen, we have a new hierarchy of bureaucrats that ignore the law, sneer at subpoenas, create hostile work environments and waste millions of dollars. Is this your idea of how to run a government?
About The Author
Phil Hall has been (among other things) a United Nations-based radio journalist, the president of a public relations and marketing agency, a financial magazine editor, the author of six books and a horror movie actor. Also, as you will discover, he is not shy about stating his views.