Corraling Cordray


FormerOhio Attorney General Richard Cordray is acting head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and one of the favorite whipping boys of Republican members of Congress.

Mr. Cordray can’t get confirmed as permanent director of the bureau. He can’t even get a vote in the Senate. Republican senators want to water down the powers of the bureau and have three directors instead of one — none of them the pro-consumer Mr. Cordray.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bueau was created after banking and Wall Street abuses crashed the economy and bankrupted thousands of Americans five years ago. It seemed like we needed a little protection.

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The real problem Republicans seem to have with the agency is its very purpose: Protecting consumers from unscrupulous loans, credit card deals, and investment schemes.

But they can’t say that, so they attack Mr. Cordray instead.

The latest insult came after Mr. Cordray went to Capitol Hill to deliver a report on his agency. A House committee refused to even hear him.

The chairman said that he would not recognize the authority of an interim director. So, no testimony. No listening. Ears covered.

The implied message is that the agency should not even exist. Its director should not do his job. He should just go away.

This childish behavior hardly serves the interests of American consumers — and that’s everyone.

Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has said that if Republicans continue to insist on blocking Mr. Cordray’s nomination he may have to consider changing Senate rules and ending, or seriously amending, the filibuster. “We have the power on any given day to change the rules,” the senator said.

Mr. Reid added that this “nuclear option” was not his wish, but that he was running out of patience.

By all accounts, Mr. Cordray is doing a great job in a sorely needed agency. Thousands of Americans are still getting the shaft from banks and credit-card companies. The bureau is uncovering unscrupulous practices and warning Americans before they get taken again. These efforts long overdue.

Republicans would do well to remember that the last temporary director they blocked from being permanently appointed was Elizabeth Warren, who took a Senate seat from a Republican and became a huge Democratic star.

If they are not careful they could similarly catapult Mr. Cordray, who many Democrats want to be governor of Ohio.