Records Reveal Former Top ACORN Operative Continues to Advise CFPB Head, Other Officials on Housing Issues
OCTOBER 15, 2013
March 21 Letter from NHRC’s Dorpalen to CFPB Senior Advisor Calls for Extension of Home Affordable Modification Program; Obama Administration Extends Program Eight Weeks Later
(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch announced today that it has obtained documents from the Consumer Financial Protection Administration (CFPB) revealing that Bruce Dorpalen, the former Director of ACORN Housing and current Executive Director of the ACORN spin-off the National Housing Resource Center (NHRC), has met repeatedly with top Obama administration officials, including CFBP Director Richard Cordray and U.S. Comptroller of the Currency Thomas Curry, to advise them on government housing policy.
According to the documents, obtained pursuant to a Judicial Watch Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request filed on May 16, 2013:
- In a December 10, 2012, email, CFPB Senior Advisor Brenda Muniz wrote to Dorpalen to confirm that he would, “be the one to introduce Director Cordray” at an NHRC “Leaders in Housing Counseling” forum held to be held at Washington’s Renaissance Hotel on December 12.
When Dorpalen invited Muniz and CPFB Associate Director Zixta Martinez to a dinner with representatives from several housing counseling agencies the night before the forum, Muniz apparently had questions about attending the event, writing to Martinez, “I’m going to submit this to ethics unless you think I shouldn’t.” No information was provided as to Martinez’ response.
- The attendees list generated by Dorpalen for Muniz concerning an April, 2013 meeting indicates that Dorpalen met with CFPB Regional Strategist Keo Chea and with representatives of the Federal Reserve. The meeting was also attended by Dustin Toomey, the Executive Director of Affordable Housing Centers of PA (an ACORN spin-off co-located with the NHRC).
- A subsequent email from Dorpalen indicates that on April 11, 2013, he had “a meeting in the afternoon with Tom Curry from the OCC.” As Comptroller of the Currency, Curry supervises more than 2,000 national banks and federal savings associations throughout the United States.
- A March 25, 2013, email reveals that Dorpalen sent a letter signed by 240 housing counseling agencies to CFPB’s Martinez and Muniz lobbying for an “extension of the HAMP [Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) and Making Home Affordable programs past the December 31, 2013 deadline” for their expiration.
Just eight weeks later, on May 30, 2013, the Obama administration announced that it had extended the programs to 2015.
- A January 10, 2013, email indicates that Dorpalen was invited to be a panelist at a January CFPB field hearing in Atlanta, Georgia. Before the panel, Muniz apparently organized a “prep call” between Dorpalen and other attendees (including Julia Gordon, the Director of Housing Finance and Policy at the Center for American Progress) to discuss the event.
The agenda, attached to the e-mail about the call, was not provided in the response to Judicial Watch. However, the email suggests that information regarding an unspecified, proposed CFPB rule would be discussed on the call and that Muniz did not want to address the issue via e-mail.
The National Housing Resource Center is a project of the George Soros-funded Tides Foundation. It apparently began operation in early 2012 – the same time that ACORN’s previous housing-related spinoff, Affordable Housing Centers of America, closed its doors. The NHRC operates as a lobbyist for the housing counseling industry and includes among its accomplishments the securing of $25 million in additional grant funding for housing counselors from the Treasury Department and the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP). NHRC Executive Director Dorpalen has visited the White House on at least five occasions, including a November 2012 meeting with National Economic Council Director Gene Sperling.
The ACORN network has a long and close relationship to President Obama. ACORN’s efforts, many contend, to push unaffordable mortgages help contribute the recent housing market crash.
“These smoking-gun documents show the continued collusion among Obama’s Department of Housing and Urban Renewal, the controversial Consumer Financial Protection Administration and ACORN spinoffs – and strongly indicate that Barack Obama is still determined to turn the federal government’s housing policy over to the far left,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “How is it, after the scandals of ACORN and its contribution to the housing crash, that this organization’s former leadership is still able to guide federal housing policy? It goes to show that Barack Obama truly is the president from ACORN.”