Representative Maxine Waters (D-CA), who is the Chairwoman of the House Financial Services Committee, has often criticized the actions of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) since the appointments of Director Kathleen Kraninger and Former Acting Director Mick Mulvaney. Chairwoman Waters has frequently raised the issue of the increasing number of political appointees at the CFPB—most vocally against Eric Blankenstein, who allegedly overruling CFPB staff recommendations in regards to settlements with financial services companies to the detriment of consumers and previously made controversial remarks on his blog.
Now, Chairwoman Waters expresses her concerns about a new political appointee who seems to be headed to the CFPB. Thomas G. Ward is allegedly the current front runner for the position of Enforcement Director. Yesterday, Chairwoman Waters sent a letter of concern to Director Kraninger for allegedly politicizing the CFPB. The letter discusses guidance from the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) to not give preference or special advantage to political appointees, and that federal agencies must seek OPM approval prior to appointing a political appointee to a permanent position.
The letter warns:
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 requests that Director Kraninger and the CFPB provide information and records for review by the House Financial Services Committee. This review is part of the Committee's oversight duties over the CFPB, including to "ensure that personnel actions in the civil service remain free from improper political influence." The requests for information ask for communications between the CFPB, OPM, and the Department of Justice—where Ward is currently employed—as well as communications between the CFPB and Ward regarding the Enforcement Director position.