Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-NC) has made no secret of his intent to ignore Wall Street’s worst behavior as chairman of the House Financial Services Committee (HFSC). From the earliest days of the MAGA Majority, he’s pledged that his members will pursue “aggressive oversight” of the financial regulators who protect consumers from abuse rather than hold the industry itself accountable.
That mission is no surprise to those who have followed the money behind McHenry. With over $5 million of his career campaign cash coming from the deep pockets of the financial industry, he’s been pushing the agenda of banks and their trade groups for years.
Now, alongside Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-MO) – the new chair of the HFSC’s Subcommittee on National Security, Illicit Finance, and International Financial Institutions – McHenry plans to use the MAGA Majority’s newfound power to undermine the authority of financial regulators and clear the way for policies written by-and-for Wall Street.
Their biggest target: the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), an agency founded to shield consumers from the financial industry’s most predatory practices – including junk fees, overdraft charges, and payday lending.
With decades worth of industry cash in their campaigns’ pockets, this is far from the first time McHenry and Luetkemeyer have taken aim at the agency. As detailed in A.US’ new profiles on the MAGA members, here is the duo’s history of anti-CFPB actions:
As a long-time foe of the CFPB, McHenry’s defense of big banks’ unpopular and predatory practices is only expected to get more brazen as chairman of the HFSC.
As early as 2012, McHenry could be found advancing the financial industry interests by lobbing attacks against the CFPB’s inaugural director, Richard Cordray, from the House Oversight Committee – calling him an “unelected and unaccountable bureaucrat” and questioning the legitimacy of the Bureau.
Despite his failure to prevent Cordray and the agency from recovering $12 billion in fines from major banks during his term, McHenry’s crusade was far from over. Since the agency’s founding, he’s championed a series of anti-CFPB legislation, including:
- The “Bureau Arbitration Fairness Act” – a bill that would eliminate the CFPB’s ability to prohibit or limit companies’ forced arbitration agreements with consumers.
- The “OIRA Insight, Reform, and Accountability Act” — a bill that sought to undermine the CFPB’s independence.
- And H.R. 3072, the “Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection Examination and Reporting Threshold Act” – a bill that would have slashed the number of banks under CFPB oversight by two-thirds.
McHenry has also been a staunch opponent of the CFPB’s Arbitration Rule, making it easier for harmed consumers to join together in class-action lawsuits against abusive financial services companies. In addition to calling the protection “deeply flawed, he co-sponsored a resolution that successfully invalidated the rule through the Congressional Review Act.
Now that he officially sits at the top of the HFSC, McHenry is directing the committee’s efforts toward obstructing the CFPB’s endeavor to protect consumers from credit card late fees. As the CFPB works to save consumers up to $9 billion a year by curbing predatory charges, McHenry has been parroting the objections of major trade groups by defending a loophole that allows credit card companies to escape accountability for excessive and abusive fees.It’s not a surprising stance for the corporate crusader to have taken after receiving over $1.1 million in campaign contributions from the eight largest U.S. credit card issuers and three banking trade groups opposed to the CFPB’s credit card rule. McHenry has also cashed $722,500 from the three largest banks that made over $6.8 billion in overdraft fees in 2019 alone.
Meanwhile, after taking over $100,000 from Wells Fargo, McHenry stayed mum about the CFPB’s recent victory against the scandal-plagued banking giant – which was forced to return over $2 billion to consumers for illegal activity involving auto loans and mortgages.
Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-MO), Chair of the HFSC’s Subcommittee on National Security, Illicit Finance, and International Financial Institutions.
As a historically loyal advocate for Wall Street’s agenda, Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-MO) is gearing up to continue his anti-consumer crusade in his powerful new position on the HFSC.
Throughout his career, Luetkemeyer has taken over $3.3 million from the financial industry, including $765,000 from the finance & credit industry and nearly $1.45 million from commercial banks. His industry ties also overlap with familial ones – Luetkemeyer’s former family bank was a member of the American Bankers Association (ABA). This major banking trade group has given him $125,000 since he entered Congress in 2009.
With industry money and influence behind him, Luetkemeyer has introduced and supported a slate of anti-consumer legislation aimed at weakening the CFPB’s regulatory power, including:
- The “Consumer Financial Protection Commission Act,” which would have eliminated the CFPB’s single-director structure and undermined its independence.
- The FDIC Board Accountability Act, which sought to limit the influence of the CFPB’s director by removing them from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) board amid a partisan clash with Trump-appointed FDIC Chair Jelena McWilliams.
- And the OIRA Insight, Reform, and Accountability Act, which would have mandated lengthy reviews of the CFPB’s proposed regulation.
Now that Luetkemeyer has the power to ensure Big Banks have their say on the House floor, it’s a guarantee he’ll be using his platform to ramp up his attacks on the Biden administration’s efforts to protect consumers. In addition to his previous criticisms of a CFPB rule that collects the race and gender information of small business owners for going “against decades of anti-discrimination laws,” he’s also baselessly accused the agency of “demonizing automobile lenders and servicers.”
Meanwhile, as the fate of the CFPB’s funding rests in the hands of the Supreme Court, Luetkemeyer hasn’t been shy about his approval of several recent court rulings that deem the agency’s structure unconstitutional, thus jeopardizing its existence – including lending his explicit support to the U.S. Chamber Of Commerce’s lawsuit.
As the lawsuits and legislation aimed at undermining the CFPB continue to grow, Accountable.US is watching the politicians in the pocket of greedy industries and their efforts to leave consumers vulnerable to Wall Street’s whims. To dive deeper into the donors and dollars behind the MAGA Majority’s anti-CFPB agenda, visit McHenry and Luketmeyer’s full profiles.