Watchdog Calls for Alito’s Recusal in Looming Case Threatening CFPB’s Existence
WASHINGTON, DC — Following reports that Justice Samuel Alito failed to disclose a luxury Alaska fishing trip gifted by right-wing billionaire hedge fund manager Paul Singer, a new analysis from government watchdog Accountable.US shows Singer holds at least $90 million in financial companies overseen by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau as the agency faces an existential threat in the U.S. Supreme Court. Accountable.US called the undisclosed gifts between Singer and Alito – including private jet travel valued at over $100,000 each way – grounds for Alito’s recusal in CFPB v. the Community Financial Services Association of America (CFSA) especially as Singer’s investment management firm has called for the end of the CFPB’s independence, the central issue before the court. Should Alito choose to preside over this case despite his billionaire benefactor’s direct financial stake in the outcome, it would only fuel an already raging Supreme Court corruption crisis.
Justice Alito enjoyed untold amounts of luxury and largesse from a billionaire hedge fund manager whose business interests would benefit if the Supreme Court allows for the worst rollback of consumer protections in U.S. history,” said Liz Zelnick, Director of Accountable.US’ Economic Security & Corporate Power Program.
“The sprawling web of financial dealings Mr. Singer has overseen by the CFPB explains why his firm has aggressively criticized the agency’s independence. The cause for Alito’s recusal in this matter is cut and dry. Should Justice Alito preside over this case despite his clear conflicts of interest, it would add to the worsening Supreme Court corruption crisis and underscore the urgent need for ethics reform,” added Zelnick.
At Issue: On October 3rd, the high court is set to hear oral arguments from the top trade group for predatory lenders that are seeking to kill the CFPB’s independent funding structure and allow for Congressional opponents who prioritize financial industry donations over consumers to defund and defang the agency that has successfully returned billions of dollars to victims of financial industry fraud and abuse. The financial industry has spent millions of dollars lobbying to weaken the CFPB since its inception and donated millions more to conservative Members of Congress hostile towards the nation’s leading consumer advocate.
What’s At Stake: The payday loan industry’s lawsuit against the CFPB has nothing to do with upholding the constitution and everything to do with obstructing the agency that holds the financial industry accountable when they harm consumers. If the Supreme Court sides with predatory lenders, that will likely mean the agency’s future funding will be beholden to the political whims of Congress. There is little doubt a U.S. House of Representatives made up of lawmakers openly hostile to the CFPB — like the current MAGA Majority — would zero-fund the agency the first chance they get on behalf of their financial industry donors. Former MAGA Congressman turned Trump CFPB Director Mick Mulvaney literally requested $0 for the agency during his tenure. In one fell swoop, an anti-CFPB-led Congress could cut the purse strings and erase over a decade of consumer protections and rules that have made our markets fairer and more stable. It would be catastrophic for consumers, honest businesses that simply want to compete fairly, and the stability of financial markets. It is clear the CFPB’s independent funding structure has allowed it to be so effective delivering results for consumers precisely because it can avoid outside political influence. The CFPB’s critics like Paul Singer know this, too, which is why they have gone all in on this highly-coordinated legal and political strategy pinpointing the bureau’s funding structure.