Tester Holds CFPB Nominee Accountable for "One of Swampiest Decisions Ever Seen"
Senator Grills Nominee for Failing to Answer Questions and Siding with Special Interests over Transparency
(U.S. Senate)-"One of the swampiest decisions that I have ever seen."
That is what U.S. Senator Jon Tester today called the federal government's recent decision to hide certain political donations from the public.
Tester made the statement during the confirmation hearing of Consumer and Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) Director nominee Kathleen Kraninger, who is currently responsible for overseeing the government agency that made the decision to allow certain political nonprofits to stop disclosing donors who give more than $5,000.
Tester grilled Kraninger after she made the claim that she is committed to increasing transparency and accountability at the CFPB just days after the agency she oversaw rolled back campaign finance disclosure requirements.
"Let me ask you this, the number one thing that you are going to bring to the Bureau is transparency and accountability," Tester questioned. "How can you actually say that you don't have an opinion on it when it deals exclusively with transparency?"
Kraninger refused to answer Tester's question.
Kraninger currently oversees the budgetary resources for the Treasury Department, in her role at the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), which earlier this week made the decision to eliminate public disclosure requirements for certain political nonprofit organizations.
During Tester's questioning, Kraninger also refused to answer questions about the CFPB's recent decision to pull back a payday lending rule that had been proposed, and to hire overpaid political appointees.
Tester closed his portion of the hearing by telling Kraninger that her answers during the hearing didn't reflect the values that she emphasized during her opening testimony.
"Your opening statement said a lot of good things that I agree with," Tester added. "Protecting data, accountability for actions, transparency, working closely, and holding bad actors accountable, but your answers don't reflect those values at all."
Tester, a longtime advocate for campaign finance reform, has sponsored multiple bills to reverse the impacts of the U.S. Supreme Court's Citizens United decision and increase transparency in elections.
The CFPB was created during the financial crisis as an independent federal agency that serves as the federal government watchdog on behalf of consumers. The CFPB has the authority to launch investigations into a number of business actions that include mortgages, credit cards, loan servicing, money transmitting, and financial data processing.
The CFPB has been without a permanent director since last year.