CNBC is reporting this afternoon that Richard Cordray, the embattled head of Elizabeth Warren brainchild the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), will stand down at the end of November, possibly to run for Ohio Governor.
Speculation has long swirled that Cordray, the former Democratic Attorney General of Ohio, intended to leave the agency this year to run for Governor.
No big-name Democrat has yet stepped into the contest, and the CFPB is under fire in both the courts, and in Congress, facing allegations that it is an unconstitutional agency that has taken draconian regulatory steps aimed at benefiting core Democratic party donors, including trial lawyers and Internet behemoth Google.
Earlier this year, President Trump threatened to fire Cordray, but allegedly walked away from that threat following lobbying from Trump loyalists from Ohio concerned that Cordray would enter the gubernatorial contest were he fired, and position himself as a “martyr.”
Key Trump loyalists including Corey Lewandowski, who represents at least one financial services provider targeted by the CFPB, have continued to press the President to fire Cordray irrespective of such lobbying.
Critics of Cordray allege that while he looks like a strong candidate for Democrats on paper, he will be a treasure trove for opposition researchers. Under his tenure, the CFPB is alleged, including by the Government Accountability Office, to have tolerated racial, gender, ageist and anti-gay discrimination.
CFPB has also been blasted for data collection efforts that critics argue violate Americans’ privacy and risk exposure of their financial information in the event of a cybersecurity breach.
Under Cordray, CFPB has also been plagued by high spending on staff salaries, luxe headquarters redesign and refurbishment, and contracts benefiting GMMB, Obama strategist Jim Margolis’ firm.
Last month, Cordray was cleared of Hatch Act violations relating to rumored planning for a gubernatorial run, and appeared to have discussed the possibility with another potential candidate for the Democratic nomination. Should he now enter the contest, that decision might come into question.
Stay tuned to see whether Cordray will in fact enter the Democratic field, as has long been rumored, or simply resign to avoid the indignity of being fired by the President for cause.