Brown Statement Following Banking Committee Votes On Cordray, White Nominations

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) today issued the following statement after an Executive Session of the Senate Banking Committee on the nominations of Rich Cordray to serve as Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and Mary Jo White to head the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

Brown voted to advance fellow Ohioan Cordray’s nomination to CFPB:

“Wall Street special interests and their allies in Congress have not expressed concerns about Rich Cordray’s qualifications or his performance during his first year at CFPB, which has received high marks from industry and consumer groups alike. Instead, they have taken the unprecedented action of blocking his nomination simply because they disagree with the existence of the Bureau. It’s critical that we put partisan politics aside and confirm Rich Cordray– consumers deserve a bureau with a confirmed director who can serve as a counterbalance to the Wall Street lobby.”

Brown voted against White’s nomination to the SEC:

“At a time when our Attorney General says that the biggest Wall Street banks are in many ways above the law and the SEC is blocking shareholders’ efforts to break up the banks that they own, we need regulators who will fight every day for taxpayers, Main Street investors, and retirees. But too often we have seen public servants who settle for the status quo, instead of demanding accountability.

“I don’t question Mary Jo White’s integrity or skill as an attorney. But I do question Washington’s long-held bias towards Wall Street and its inability to find watchdogs outside of the very industry that they are meant to police. Mary Jo White will have plenty of opportunities to prove me wrong. I hope she will.”

Brown, who chairs the Senate Banking Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Protection, is the author of the Safe, Accountable, Fair & Efficient (SAFE) Banking Act, legislation that would prevent any one financial institution from becoming so large and overleveraged that its collapse could put our economy on the brink of collapse or trigger the need for a federal bailout. Brown’s legislation is gaining broad bipartisan support, most recently, from the Washington Post’s George Will.

Brown is also working with U.S. Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) to introduce legislation that would rein in Wall Street megabanks by imposing stronger capital standards. Together, Brown and Vitter have successfully pressed the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to conduct a study of the economic benefits that the “too-big-to-fail” megabanks receive as a result of actual or perceived taxpayer funded support.

Brown has also worked with U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) on the issue of “too big to jail.” The senators sent a letter to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder questioning whether the “too big to fail” status of certain Wall Street megabanks undermines the ability of the federal government to prosecute wrongdoing and impose appropriate penalties.  They also requested that the Justice Department disclose the identities of parties with whom prosecutors consult about the appropriate level of penalties for financial institutions. Holder later admitted at a Senate Judiciary Hearing on March 6 that the size of some banks makes it difficult to prosecute them.

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