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Some Republicans Break Ranks to Support Consumer Protection Nominee

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Richard Cordray won new bipartisan support this week for his bid to become the first director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Cordray was nominated to the position in July by President Obama, but Senate Republicans are blocking his nomination.

The National Association of Attorneys General issued a letter calling on Congress to approve Cordray to lead the bureau, which was created last year by the Dodd-Frank financial reform act. The letter was signed by 37 AG’s, including both Republicans and Democrats.

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“Some of us may disagree with aspects of the Dodd-Frank legislation,” they wrote. “But we are united in our belief that Mr. Cordray is very well qualified to carry out the responsibilities of this position.”

Cordray was attorney general in Ohio just as the mortgage bubble was bursting, and he used his office to pursue lawsuits against major lenders, credit rating agencies and foreclosure rescue companies.

“We need Rich Cordray in there, who not only understands these things on a national basis, but knows us, knows how to work with us and knows the structure and organization of our offices,” Mark Shurtleff, the Republican attorney general of Utah, said in a conference call with reporters this week.

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Cordray also gained support from more expected sources. Ben Grant, chairman of the Maine Democratic Party, called on the state’s two Republican senators to approve Cordray’s nomination.

“If Republicans actually are concerned with job creation and protecting the middle class, then they should vote to confirm Richard Cordray to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau without delay,” Grant said in a statement.

The pressure appears unlikely to sway Republican leaders in the Senate, who argue that Dodd-Frank gives the CFPB’s director too much power.

“No nominee for the Director of the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection should receive consideration until the Democrats are ready to stop playing politics and work with us to make the Bureau accountable,” Richard Shelby (R – AL), the ranking Republican on the Senate Banking Committee, said in a prepared statement. “It’s their choice.”

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Image: ProgressOhio, via Flickr

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