Joe Biden Eyeing Problematic Former CFPB Chief Richard Cordray for Key Federal Reserve Spot

(AP Photo/John Minchillo)

The White House promised a nomination for Federal Reserve’s top banking regulator sometime this month. Among the candidates for the Fed’s vice chairman of banking supervision is the former head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Richard Cordray.

Cordray was the first head of the CFPB, an agency created by Elizabeth Warren before she ran for the U.S. Senate and passed into law as part of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. On his way out, Cordray seems to have been doing some favors for Google, a major Democrat donor, ahead of his run for Governor of Ohio (a race he promptly lost to Mike DeWine).

There is a problem with Cordray’s nomination to the Fed, though. There is a history of complaints against the CFPB while he was there, and a lot of them have to do with discrimination.

In 2014, Martin told lawmakers at an oversight hearing of the House Financial Services Committee, which had an ongoing investigation into the abuses at CFPB, that she was discriminated against by managers. When she complained, she said, she was punished by being isolated and “stripped of responsibility,” reported Peter Schroeder in an April 2, 2014 article for The Hill titled “Employee Blasts CFPB As Hostile Environment.”

In the same article, it was reported that another employee, who was a legal immigrant, was referred to as an “f—ing foreigner” at a meeting, while another had been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder caused by a hostile work environment.

Misty Raucci, a former investigator with Defense Investigators Group who examined CFPB issues at the request of the bureau, criticized managers for creating an intolerable workplace, according to The Hill. The environment at Martin’s branch at the CFPB was “one of exclusion, retaliation, discrimination, nepotism, demoralization, devaluation, and other offensive working conditions which constitute a toxic workplace for many of its employees,” she said.

Martin testified before the House oversight committee that “Women and minorities were singled out at the agency, deprived of training opportunities, suffered pay discrepancies with white male colleagues, and were passed over for promotions.”

One staffer in the story quoted above said “This idea that Rich Cordray was fair to employees and a proponent of inclusiveness is just wrong. It’s a joke.”

It gets worse, though, as CFPB managers, under Cordray’s supervision, had a “recurrent pattern” of giving much higher reviews of white employees than they did employees of color. This is the exact opposite type of work atmosphere Democrats have been advocating across the country, yet it was happening right in their own backyard. In their own federal agency. There was a unit dubbed “The Plantation” where black employees were assigned almost exclusively to simple data entry jobs.

This is the atmosphere created by Cordray at a relatively new federal agency, and one with nowhere near the level of power over the U.S. economy that the Federal Reserve has. Imagine that atmosphere being introduced to the Fed and how well that plays out. It would be a nightmare for them, and it would be a nonstop scandal for the Democrats, who are fresh off a series of lost nomination battles in the Senate over poor choices from the Biden team.

Cordray shouldn’t be anywhere near a federal government job, much less one as important as regulating the country’s banks. And that’s not according to my rules, but the rules of the party in power. The rules of Elizabeth Warren’s party. Would she stand by and let this nomination proceed?

Mr. Cordray’s nomination for the Fed job appointment could hearten progressive Democrats, who have called for the central bank to take a tougher stance regulating big banks and to take a bolder approach to addressing financial risks posed by climate change. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.) has privately pushed senior White House officials to consider Mr. Cordray for the role, one of the people familiar with the matter said. A spokeswoman for Ms. Warren declined to comment.

Apparently so.