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Washington, DC - With a Senate vote on confirmation of former Ohio Attorney General Rich Cordray to head the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau expected tomorrow, U.S. PIRG ratcheted up its efforts to urge Senators to support confirmation. The group announced that it is urging its members in every state to contact Senators and running radio ads in several states.
“Senators who vote against Rich Cordray to head the CFPB are voting to let Wall Street banks and payday lenders run amok over consumers, despite the clear evidence that a lack of clear financial protections led to the second-biggest financial collapse in our nation’s history,” said Ed Mierzwinski, U.S. PIRG Consumer Program Director. “Without a director, the CFPB is left as a second-class regulator, with fewer tools to protect the public, which is how the banks want it to stay if they cannot weaken it further or kill it outright and make no mistake, that’s their ultimate goal.”
The group has sent action alerts to thousands of activists around the nation and is running a radio ad (listen at http://bit.ly/vS6emQ ) in several states. The push is being coordinated with similar efforts by other members of Americans for Financial Reform. State PIRGs and U.S. PIRG have sent endorsement letters to all Senators.
Mierzwinski noted that the White House, a bi-partisan group of state Attorneys General, 60 mayors and others are also pulling out all the stops for Cordray. At the behest of Wall Street banks, however, 45 Republican Senators have previously pledged to block confirmation unless the bureau is first weakened and its independence eliminated. Mierzwinski said that opponents’ claims that the CFPB was unaccountable were ludicrous and that, in fact, its structure, independence and funding were virtually identical to that of other bank regulators.
“Three years ago consumers, communities and the economy were devastated when bank regulators allowed greedy Wall Street banks to wreck the economy, costing millions of jobs, millions of homes and trillions of dollars in lost retirement income,” Mierzwinski added. “The CFPB was designed as America’s first financial regulator with only one job, protecting consumers, but even though we still haven’t recovered, the banks want to go back to business as usual when regulators protected them from regulation.”
“Some Senators may choose to vote to protect Wall Street instead of hard-working consumers,” Mierzwinski concluded. “They’ll be on record and their constituents can then ask them why.”
U.S. PIRG is the federation of state Public Interest Research Groups. State PIRGs are non-profit, non-partisan public interest advocacy groups that take on powerful interests on behalf of their members. On the web at uspirg.org.
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