Watchdog: MAGA House Scraps Key Consumer Protection Subcommittees In First of Many Gifts to Financial Industry Donors
Today the new MAGA-led House Financial Services Committee dispelled any doubt of their intent to do the bidding of the financial industries over the interests of everyday families. Chairman Patrick McHenry (R-NC) announced the list of new subcommittees that notably eliminated the Diversity and Inclusion Subcommittee and references to “consumer protection,” “investor protection,” or “community development” in subcommittee titles. Earlier this week, McHenry – a Wall Street money vacuum and longtime adversary of federal consumer protection efforts – was named HFSC Chairman. Equally concerning for consumers, former banker turned congressman, Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-MO), has been tapped to run the powerful National Security, Illicit Finance, and International Financial Institutions subcommittee.
The new majority has quickly shown their true colors after eliminating the former Consumer Protection and Financial Institutions subcommittee, instead opting to sharpen their knives for the CFPB under the newly created Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Monetary Policy, chaired by vocal CFPB critic Andy Barr (R-KY). Government watchdog Accountable.US has detailed the new HFSC leadership’s ties to industries which portends an agenda written by-and-for Wall Street, big banks and predatory lenders at the expense of everyday American families.
Patrick McHenry and Blaine Luetkemeyer have made careers out of obstructing federal crackdowns of predatory lenders and financial scammers that sap billions of dollars from the pockets of average Americans every year. These MAGA lawmakers never met a consumer protection effort they liked and have been rewarded accordingly with millions of dollars from greedy industries they now oversee. The frothy-mouthed hostility McHenry and Luetkemeyer have exhibited toward the CFPB and its Director strongly suggests a belief that ripping off consumers is a legitimate part of doing business, including excessive overdraft penalties and predatory hidden fees. Only politicians deep in the pocket of industry could view with contempt the Bureau’s incredible success in saving consumers money and holding scammers and financial predators accountable.
Predictably, McHenry wasted no time seeking payback on behalf of his biggest donors by scrapping key subcommittees dedicated to consumer protection and preventing industry discrimination."
Liz Zelnick, Director of Accountable.US’ Economic Security & Corporate Power program
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: McHenry & Luetkemeyer Are Dedicated Servants of Wall Street Special Interests:
Patrick McHenry has already pledged to shut down the diversity and inclusion subcommittee on the House Financial Services Committee in an effort to let industries off the hook for discrimination. And after taking over $100,000 from Wells Fargo, McHenry tellingly had little to say about the CFPB’s recent order against the scandal-plagued banking giant to return over $2 billion in ill-gotten money to consumers for illegal activity involving “several of its product lines,” including auto loans and mortgages. McHenry’s ties to the industries he now oversees include:
- In his most recent annual disclosure, McHenry reported owning up to $1,000 in non-publicly traded stock of Alliance Bank & Trust, headquartered in his home state of North Carolina.
- McHenry is also a frequent speaker at industry-sponsored events. In 2021, McHenry spoke at the Consumer Bankers Association’s annual Washington Forum. He spoke at the National Association of Federally-Insured Credit Unions in September 2022 and served as a keynote speaker for the American Bankers Association’s Annual Washington Summit in 2022.
- Meanwhile, throughout his career, McHenry has received over $9.2 million in contributions from industries regulated and overseen by the House Financial Services Committee, including the finance, insurance, and real estate sectors.
- And in the 2018 election cycle, McHenry took at least $154,000 from industry groups that lobbied in support of McHenry’s Protecting Consumers’ Access To Credit Act, which sought to codify “rent-a-bank” schemes into law, allowing predatory lenders to skirt state interest rate caps put in place to protect consumers from triple-digit interest rates.
- McHenry has also taken at least $722,500 from the three largest banks that made over $6.8 billion in overdraft fees in 2019 and the largest industry groups that have opposed the CFPB’s efforts to rein in overdraft practices plaguing consumers.
Meanwhile, Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-MO), who boasts of over 30 years of experience in the banking and insurance industries, has family connections to the former Bank of St. Elizabeth spanning over a century. Similar to McHenry, Luetkemeyer has several conflicts of interest, including his spouse serving on the Bank of St. Elizabeth’s board, after which Luetkemeyer disclosed selling millions worth of stock after the Bank’s acquisition in late 2021.
- Rep. Luetkemeyer’s family has been connected to the former Bank of St. Elizabeth—which was founded by his great grandfather in 1914—while his brother Brice had continued to serve as the bank’s president until its eventual acquisition in 2021 by Mid America Bank.
- In December 2021, Luetkemeyer disclosed selling between $5 million and $25 million worth of stock in St. Elizabeth Bancshares, the parent company of Bank of St. Elizabeth, while also disclosing his wife as a member of its board of directors.
- Meanwhile, Rep. Luetkemeyer has taken over $6.2 million in campaign contributions from the finance, insurance and real estate sectors overseen by the House Financial Services Committee.
- Rep. Luetkemeyer has also received at least $556,000 in contributions from the three largest banks that raked in over $6.8 billion in overdraft fees in 2019 and industry groups that have opposed efforts by the CFPB to rein in the worst offenders impacting consumers.
SEE MORE FROM ACCOUNTABLE.US:
Watchdog: Anti-CFPB Lawsuit Linked to Industry Interests with Histories of Discrimination and An Axe to Grind Against Bureau