In the August calendar posting of Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Richard Cordray, who is strongly rumored to be considering a bid for governor of Ohio, it was revealed he met with leading Democratic pollster Celinda Lake, raising questions.
On August 24, 2017, Cordray met with Lake, a leading Democratic pollster. The meeting was shown in Cordray’s August calendar posting.
In July, Ohio Supreme Court Justice Bill O’Neill told Politico that Cordray’s “getting ready to run.”
Shortly after the meeting, Cordray visited his home state and gave a campaign-ready speech over Labor Day, further perpetuating the rumors…and concerns.
The question being asked now is whether Cordray met with Lake in his capacity as director of the CFPB or as a potential candidate, which would be illegal under the Hatch Act. House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) has already penned a letter to Acting Special Counsel Adam Miles asking Miles to investigate whether Cordray has violated the Hatch Act.
Under the Hatch Act, it is illegal for a federal employee to run for a partisan political office, which includes “the preliminaries leading to such announcement and to canvassing or soliciting support or doing or permitting to be done any act in furtherance of candidacy,” according to a 2009 advisory opinion written by the U.S. Office of Special Counsel and referenced in Hensarling’s letter.
Lake is currently being paid to do research and polling for the Ohio Democratic Party. She has also worked as Vice President Joe Biden’s pollster in 2008, has worked with the Democratic National Committee, and also with the Democratic Governor’s Association. Her bio on the Lake Research Project website states that under her leadership, the firm “has moved the progressive agenda forward on a variety of issues.” While Lake Research has some contracts in the Federal Procurement Database, none of them are with the CFPB.
What were Lake and Cordray meeting about if not Cordray’s potential run for governor? Oddly enough, it seems there are possibilities beyond a Hatch Act violation.
Under Cordray’s leadership, the CFPB has steered $43.7 million in contracts to GMMB, the advertising agency President Obama used for his presidential campaign.
The New York Post recently reported that the CFPB still “forces financial institutions it prosecutes to donate to third-party community organizers.” Under Cordray’s leadership, over $30 million dollars the CFPB has collected from these financial institutions have been funneled to so-called ‘consumer advocacy’ groups.
Whether or not Cordray has broken the law by politicizing his federal agency, it remains clear he is a politically ambitious holdover from the Obama Administration.