Expressing concern that the CFPB is acting contrary to its authorizing statute, three senior members of the House Financial Services Committee yesterday sought information on the CFPB’s collaborations with state attorneys general enforcement actions. Earlier this year, the bureau issued an interpretive rule expanding the ability of state AGs to bring enforcement actions for violations of federal law—including actions against the same entity for harms not being address by the CFPB—and announced more than 20 state AG partnerships.
“It is clear that state attorneys general may enforce the CFPA in cases where the CFPB has not. But the statute does not allow for a state attorney general to become a party to an existing CFPB enforcement action,” said Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.), Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-Mo.) and Tom Emmer (R-Minn.). “It is therefore inappropriate for the CFPB to recruit a state attorney general that is not otherwise investigating a company, to pursue enforcement as a means of intimidation.”
The lawmakers sought information from the bureau on the statutory authority for its activity with state AGs and what safeguards the bureau is employing to prevent redundant enforcement actions, as well as communications between the bureau and state AG offices.