ProPublica, a Pulitzer Prize-winning online investigative journalism organization, and WNYC, an NPR member station, are teaming up to investigate the complaints system of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
The project, called "Trump, Inc," seeks to understand "whether the CFPB is still enforcing federal consumer financial laws and holding companies accountable."
As ProPublica explained, "Since the start of the Trump administration, there has been a slowdown in enforcement actions and efforts to roll back regulations. It has also gone through three different leaders." This is where the argument comes in: Has regime change stolen the teeth out of the once much more active agency?
To answer this thesis question, ProPublica and WNYC are hoping to speak with those who have interacted with the Bureau, in any capacity. "Maybe you filed a complaint with the bureau against a debt collection or credit card company. Or maybe you work for a company that’s being investigated by the agency." They're also interested in interviewing former employees of the Bureau, and even current ones, who may be brave enough to speak to reporters.
Even though the request seeks comments from all sides of the aisle, the slant of the investigation is easy to see. Both players in this investigative exercise have reputations as liberal bastions. The assumption is that the Bureau has lost a lot of its oomph, and the question for ProPublica and WNYC is: was that a conscious effort by the new leadership -- former acting director Mick Mulvaney and current director Kathy Kraninger -- in order to make the bureau more pro-business than it is pro-consumer.
It's an argument that will likely exist as long as the Bureau and consumers do, and, barring some earth-shattering scandal, it is likely that there won't be much new the investigative team will find.