WASHINGTON, DC — Last week, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce filed a lawsuit in the conservative-friendly Northern District of Texas seeking to block the Biden administration’s historic new rule capping the majority of credit card late fees at $8. A new analysis from government watchdog Accountable.US found the presiding judge, Judge Reed O’Connor, has personally invested up to tens of thousands of dollars in credit card-issuing companies including U.S. Chamber members, according to the most recent public disclosures filed on August 11, 2023. In light of these serious conflicts of interest, Accountable.US is calling for Judge O’Connor’s immediate responsible recusal in the case.

Chamber-member banks O’Connor has invested in include: Capital One, Frost Bank, Visa, and Commerce Bank. Frost Bank is also a member of the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce, a plaintiff in the lawsuit against the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). In addition, Accountable.US found Judge O’Connor has long-standing ties to the Federalist Society, frequently speaking at organization events since as early as 2015. Since 2008, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has donated between $800,000 to over $1.1 million to the Federalist Society. 

Judge O'Connor’s deep investments in credit card issuing U.S. Chamber-member companies and his frequent appearances on the Chamber-funded Federalist Society speaker circuit is clear cause for recusal in this matter."

Accountable.US President Caroline Ciccone

“It’s no coincidence the Chamber sued in this conservative jurisdiction where they expected to draw a sympathetic ear for preserving the late fee price-gouging practice. With O’Connor, the Chamber drew a judge with serious conflicts of interest that almost certainly favors the banking industry and calls into question whether these proceedings can be fair and impartial. Judge O’Connor must recuse,” said Accountable.US President Caroline Ciccone.


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