Senator Rob Portman Chooses Wall Street over Ohio Consumers

December 8, 2011



Senator Rob Portman Chooses Wall Street over Ohio Consumers 

Senate Blocks Well-Qualified Nominee for Consumer Agency


Cleveland, OH – Today Senator Rob Portman voted with fellow Republicans to block the vote on the nomination of Richard Cordray for director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).


This speaks volumes about where Portman’s priorities lay as he casts his votes in the U.S. Senate.


The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau was established as part of the Dodd-Frank financial reform bill which was debated and passed both houses of Congress.  Richard Cordray is universally agreed upon as a respected and well-qualified public servant. 


Yet 45 senators, including Rob Portman, today blocked the vote on this nomination.  Instead of doing the work they were sent to Washington to do, vote on matters that impact the people they represent, these senators chose to do the bidding of Wall Street special interests.


According to the 45 Senate Republicans who signed a letter pledging to filibuster any CFPB nominee have received over $6.5 million from the financial industry in 2011 and nearly $125.6 million over their careers. Senator Portman received $20,500 in contributions in 2011, $3,975,476 over his political career.


“They’re acting like childish, selfish morons – bought and paid for by Wall Street.  ‘We can’t get our way so we just won’t let anyone vote.’ That is ridiculous,” said Mark Seifert, ESOP Executive Director.  “They’re playing political games instead of doing their jobs.  And every day they keep playing games more Americans are being taken advantage of by rip-offs and con artists.” 


Without a director, the CFPB does not have full authority to supervise payday lenders, private student lenders, non-bank mortgage lenders, debt collectors, credit reporting agencies, or other non banks. It is also missing some of its authority to write rules for the biggest banks, and all players in the industry. The CFPB’s job is to ensure that markets for consumer financial products and services are fair, transparent, and competitive and Senator Portman’s vote makes it much more difficult for the CFPB to do that, and leaves consumers and our whole economy at risk.


Republican senators’ demands to restructure of the bureau and make it more accountable would only weaken its ability to protect everyday Americans and make it subject to the partisan politics of Congress and the election cycle.  Policies protecting Americans’ homes, bank accounts and credit ratings should not be subject to the same political gridlock that has blocked this nomination. 


Ohioans are suffering today because of the deceptive and abusive business practices that caused of the financial crisis.  Some of those same tricks and traps in consumer financial products continue to take billions out of families pockets as they struggle to make ends meet.


Ohio families and voters will remember who stood with them in their time of need and who stood with Wall Street. 


ESOP and consumer advocates across the country will keep working to make sure that today’s vote is not the end of efforts to put Richard Cordray in place as CFPB director.