By Sarah N. Lynch and Susan Cornwell
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – An outside adviser to U.S. President Donald Trump called on Sunday for the firing of Consumer Financial Protection Bureau director Richard Cordray.
Corey Lewandowski, Trump’s former campaign manager who still speaks regularly to the president, criticized a CFPB rule that would make it easier for consumers to sue financial companies. Currently, many consumers are required to settle disputes related to credit cards and other banking products through mandatory arbitration.
“It’s my recommendation to the president of the United States to fire Richard Cordray,” Lewandowski told NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
The CFPB is the brainchild of Massachusetts Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren. Created by the 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform law, the bureau is charged with protecting consumers from predatory lending practices that were commonplace during the financial crisis.
Under current law, the president can only fire Cordray for cause. The legal burden to show cause is high, and Cordray’s term does not expire until July 2018.
Cordray is widely expected to run for governor in Ohio, though he has not announced any plans to do so.
Lewandowski said Cordray’s potential political aspirations were part of the reason he should be ousted, saying “if he wants to run for governor of Ohio, go run for governor of Ohio, but don’t do so while you’re sitting in a federal office right now.”
A CFPB spokesman did not have any immediate comment in response.
Republicans fought the creation of the CFPB and have long complained the agency wields too much power without enough accountability to the president or Congress. They have accused it over imposing overly burdensome regulations that they say may unduly harm consumers.
A U.S. appeals court is weighing a case involving whether the president should be allowed to fire Cordray at will, and not just for cause. If Trump were to remove Cordray prior to the court’s ruling, it would likely escalate the ongoing legal battle.
When asked if his comments about the CFPB were driven by business interests he represents, Lewandowski said he had no clients with such interests before the agency.
However, Lewandowski previously worked for Avenue Strategies, which is registered to lobby for Ohio-based payday lender Community Choice Financial.
(Reporting by Sarah N. Lynch; Editing by Nick Zieminski)