Washington D.C. — U.S. Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Suzanne Clark conveniently left out key details as she threatened more lawsuits against the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau during her annual “State of American Business” address today: namely the corporate front group’s extensive ties to companies with histories of racial discrimination. 

The U.S. Chamber filed a lawsuit in September seeking to reverse the CFPB’s new crackdown on illegal discrimination in the financial industry. As government watchdog Accountable.US has documented, the group’s co-plaintiffs include major banking industry groups accused of discrimination on the grounds of race, gender, sexual orientation, and disability over the past decade. These interests have accumulated at least $961M in fines or settlements with regulators, consumer advocacy groups, and individuals harmed by their misconduct.  Additionally, at least nine senior figures in the Chamber’s leadership ranks have relevant and concerning records of racial discrimination that have likely influenced the group’s opposition to the CFPB’s enforcement efforts in the banking sector. For instance, Chamber Board member Brackett Denniston was a longtime executive for General Electric, which settled for $14 million in multiple racial discrimination lawsuits during his time with the company. 

It’d be more constructive for the U.S. Chamber President to direct her threats and bluster at the Chamber-linked corporations that habitually discriminate against consumers – rather than at the agency looking out for those who’ve been harmed by the practice. The Chamber’s legal attacks against the CFPB are part of a long-running, organized effort by greedy industries and politicians in their pocket to defang, defund or do away with the agency because it works so well to protect consumers from schemes, scams and predatory behavior. This is all about industry payback to the agency that has successfully recouped billions of ill-gotten dollars on behalf of hard-working families. Pull back the curtain to see the U.S. Chamber is led by numerous individuals who enriched themselves working for institutions that consider discrimination against communities of color just a normal part of doing business. The Chamber claims to work in the public’s interest while teaming up with industry special interests linked to nearly $1 billion worth of fines and settlements stemming from discriminatory behavior against consumers. Chamber, please.”

Liz Zelnick, Director of Accountable.US’ Economic Security & Corporate Power program
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