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Monday, December 04, 2017

Fauxcahontas or Anastasia? In the Cascading Corruption of Affirmative Action, a Fake Indian Princess Fraudulently Obtains a Harvard Professorship, Flips It into a Seat on the U.S. Senate, Flips that into Founding Her Own, Corrupt, Federal Executive Branch Agency/Crime Family/Putsch, and Uses It to Illegally Trump the President

By An Old Friend

Mere tar and feathers would be much too kind ...
for many denizens of The Swamp.


Seven Days in November
Jenkins, Holman W, Jr.
Wall Street Journal, Eastern edition; New York, N.Y. [New York, N.Y] 29 Nov 2017: A.15.

It would be hard to exaggerate the absurdity of events now overtaking the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau -- and, if they weren't so laughable, their dangerousness.

Let's revisit the history of this peculiar new agency. It was created largely at the behest of Harvard Law professor and future senator Elizabeth Warren as part of the sprawling Dodd-Frank legislation.
The agency was set up to be funded directly by a levy on the Federal Reserve, operator of the nation's monetary printing press, independent of the federal budget process or congressional appropriations.

In a Putinesque move, Ms. Warren removed herself from consideration as the agency's head and encouraged President Obama to appoint one of her proteges, Richard Cordray.

Flash forward to a new and hostile administration of the opposite party. Mr. Cordray, with one year left on his statutory term, announces his resignation. He also, citing a passage in the agency's founding statute, asserts his right to name his own successor, which he does in the person of Leandra English, another Warren loyalist.

Ms. English immediately launches a lawsuit to nullify President Trump's presumed power, under a separate law, the Vacancies Act, to name an acting director to replace Mr. Cordray. Now if Ms. English can prevail in court and Senate Democrats can block a new appointee after Mr. Cordray's term expires next year, presumably Ms. English can remain acting director as long as she wants, with power to name her own successor.

Voila, an agency of the federal government becomes the dynastic possession of Ms. Warren and her designated cronies. Vladimir would be impressed.

All this might seem harmless given the agency's limited powers, restricted mostly to policing the disclosures of financial institutions in their dealings with consumers. But is this ludicrous dispute as harmless as it seems?

Recall that one of the new agency's first priorities under Mr. Cordray was to go after auto dealers, though Dodd-Frank explicitly excluded them from the agency's oversight.

Recall that he sought not to regulate their disclosures but to ban a practice that he and other activists decided they didn't like, namely dealer-negotiated interest rates on car loans, though the agency had no authority to do so.

It is not possible to overstate the cynicism and opportunism of what followed. Because he can't regulate auto dealers, he targeted banks that finance auto dealers. Because auto dealers are forbidden from collecting racial data on borrowers, the upstream lenders can't know the race of borrowers. Yet Mr. Cordray charged them with disparate impact based on so-called Bayesian Improved Surname Geocoding, which assigns borrowers to a racial category based on their names and zip codes, though the method is not designed for such purposes and known greatly to overestimate the number of African-Americans in the U.S. car-buying population.

Even this does not do justice to the disingenuousness of the agency's method. Any person identified as having a black-sounding name who paid a higher rate than the average of people with white-sounding names was deemed to have been a victim of discrimination, never mind that many people with white-sounding names also paid a higher rate.

The agency also got its desired results by deliberately overlooking the fact that dealers have different business models, with those who specialize in low-end cars tending to make most or all their profit from the dealer interest-rate markup.

By such means the agency fabricated -- there is no other word -- evidence of racial disparity in auto lending to shake money out of lenders, without effective court appeal, because the agency was able to hold necessary approvals the banks sought from other federal agencies hostage until the banks settled. That's not all: Part of the proceeds were then distributed to activist groups that supported the CFPB's creation and mission.

It's no accident that in a previous column about all this, we called on the government to apply the RICO Act against itself. So before you completely dismiss an opportunity for fanciful paranoia, consider that a slow-motion coup attempt is under way in Washington. Think about the nature of the people who gave rise to the CFPB in the first place. Think about a leadership that, months after the agency was founded, concocted the auto-lender shakedown.

Remember how even small agencies under long-lived leadership can grow to be immune from political accountability, becoming arbitrary powers unto themselves. Think of the FBI under J. Edgar Hoover.

Happily, the courts are overwhelmingly likely to protect us from the power grab of the Warren junta, as the U.S. District Court in D.C. started to do Tuesday. Even the CFPB's own top lawyer rejected Mr. Cordray's claim of authority to determine his successor. The courts are certain to find that, no matter what the CFPB statute says, a president retains his authority under the Vacancies Act to name an acting director. Democracy will be saved.

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