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Cordray at Brookings

I spent the morning at Brookings watching Richard Cordray, the new director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, give a speech. (You can watch the entire Brookings event here.)

The question on everyone's mind, of course, was whether his recess appointment, made while the Senate is not in recess, is constitutional. (I have my doubts.) Cordray had very little to say about his legal status. "It's a valid appointment," he said, "but I will leave those details to others." He emphasized that because the constituency he serves, i.e. consumers, is also served by Congress, there ought to be minimal disagreement. It's an excellent argument, because it points out without actually saying so that in blocking the functioning of the CFPB, whose creation it opposed, Republican legislators are putting partisanship ahead of their constituents, who might retaliate in the voting booth. "The most important thing we can do as a bureau is keep our nose to the grindstone," Cordray said. In doing so, "we will prove our own case."