Judicial Watch Sues Consumer Financial Protection Bureau for Records Detailing Obama’s Controversial “Recess” Appointment of Director Richard Cordray
Judicial Watch Also Seeks Records Regarding Obama’s “Victory Lap” Visit to CFPB in January 2012
(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch, the public interest group that investigates and fights government corruption, announced today that it filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit (Judicial Watch v. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (No. 1:12-cv-00931)) against the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) to obtain records detailing President Obama’s controversial “recess” appointment of the agency’s Director Richard Cordray.
On January 12, 2012, Judicial Watch submitted a FOIA request to CFPB seeking access to all records of communications between the CFPB and the White House, the Executive Office of the President, the Treasury Department and Congress concerning President Obama’s “recess appointment” of Cordray. The request also seeks access to records of communications between the CFPB and the White House concerning a January 6, 2012, visit by President Obama to the CFPB two days after the appointment was announced.
On January 25, 2012, Judicial Watch submitted a separate FOIA request to CFPB seeking communications concerning the Cordray’s appointment, as well as reimbursements, reservations, vouchers and any other documentation reflecting travel and lodging for Mr. Cordray, his family, any additional guests, and the Ohio judge who in January 2012 accepted Mr. Cordray’s oath of office in Washington, D.C.
The CFPB has failed to fully respond to Judicial Watch’s requests within the statutory allotted time-frame, prompting Judicial Watch’s lawsuit.
When President Barack Obama announced his decision to install Cordray as head of the CFPB, the president called the move a “recess” appointment. Republicans in the Senate previously had filibustered the Cordray nomination.
However, at the time of President Obama’s “recess appointment,” Congress was not in recess. Article I, Section 5, Clause 4 of the U.S. Constitution provides that: “Neither House, during the Session of Congress, shall, without the Consent of the other, adjourn for more than three days ….” To prevent any recess appointment, the Republican-controlled House refused to consent to Senate adjournment (resulting in the Senate’s coming into session every three days). Nonetheless, President Obama declared that Congress was in recess and made the Cordray appointment.
Two days after the Cordray appointment, President Obama made a visit to the CFPB. As reported by Politico: “Taking what amounted to a victory lap, President Barack Obama visited the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Friday morning to anoint Richard Cordray as its director after installing him in the job despite Republican opposition and threats of partisan warfare.”
“Given the Obama administration’s penchant for secrecy, I am not at all surprised we have to file a lawsuit to obtain these records on this scandalous appointment,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “The Cordray appointment is an abuse of office that disregards the U.S. Constitution and the U.S. Senate’s role in vetting presidential appointments. I’m sure the president would rather all details regarding his unlawful decision be kept under lock and key but we intend to hold the Obama administration accountable to the rule of law.”
In response to the Judicial Watch lawsuit, the agency produced a dozen pages of responsive documents (described by the agency as final with respect to this matter) via emails sent at 9:59 p.m. and 10:19 p.m. on Fri., June 8.