Leading Coalition of 16 AGs, Attorney General Becerra Urges Trump Administration Not to Weaken CFPB’s Investigative Authority

Thursday, April 26, 2018
Contact: (916) 210-6000, agpressoffice@doj.ca.gov

SACRAMENTO – California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, leading a coalition of 16 Attorneys General, called on the Trump Administration to respect the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) investigative authority. Since its inception, the CFPB has issued civil investigative demands to companies and individuals who may be violating the law and taking advantage of consumers. Civil investigative demands are a critical law enforcement tool that enable the CFPB to carry out investigations by obtaining documents, financial records, and company policies and procedures. However, the Trump Administration is now considering weakening the CFPB’s use of civil investigative demands.

“In 2008, Wall Street’s meltdown cost millions of Americans their jobs and their homes. In response, the CFPB was created to make sure that there would be a watchdog agency specifically on guard protecting consumers. In its first six years, the CFPB has recovered over $12 billion for hardworking American families,” said Attorney General Becerra. “That’s a record we should be proud of. But it would not have been possible without the CFPB’s use of civil investigative demands. The Trump Administration now seems poised to lock the watchdog in the dog house. That’s reckless. Wall Street does not deserve to catch another break at Main Street’s expense.”

On January 26, 2018, the CFPB began a process that could lead to the curtailment of its investigative authority. In a Request for Information, the CFPB acknowledges the important role that civil investigative demands have played in protecting consumers, but notes that the demands impose burdens on those being investigated. Therefore, the CFPB is seeking public comment on “how best to achieve meaningful burden reduction.”

In their letter, the Attorneys General underscore that:

  • The CFPB’s implementation of its investigative authority was non-controversial and based on established law enforcement practices;
  • The legislative grant of civil investigative demand authority allows agencies to fulfill their mandates;
  • Judicial supervision over civil investigative demands ensures that the rights of those who receive these are respected; and
  • The CFPB has used its investigative authority responsibly and effectively.

Joining Attorney General Becerra in sending this letter to the CFPB are the Attorneys General of Delaware, Hawai’i, Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, Minnesota, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, and Washington.                                                              

A copy of the letter is attached to the electronic version of this release at oag.ca.gov/news.

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