Obama picks snoops’ lawyer for consumer bureau

President Barack Obama wants the first chief of his new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to be Richard Cordray, the former Ohio attorney general who offered free legal support to three state officials who snooped through confidential state databases in search of information about Joe Wurzelbacher, nicknamed “Joe the Plumber.”

Then-State Attorney General Cordray enthusiastically rushed to the defense of these bureaucrats when Joe the Plumber sued them in court,” said Tom Fitton, the head of Judicial Watch, a law firm that represented Wurzelbacher. “Mr. Cordray has a record of placing politics above the rule of law … he is no friend of the little guy,” said Fitton.

Wurzelbacher’s lawsuit was rejected in August 2010 by a Democrat-appointed judge. The decision was appealed in January.

Cordray, a Democrat, chose to defend the three officials — one of whom was a prominent Obama donor — even though state law allowed him to decline to support employees when they acted “manifestly outside the scope of … official employment or official responsibilities, with malicious purpose, in bad faith or in a wanton or reckless manner.”

Cordray explained his decision to the Dayton Daily News in November 2009 by saying “we have followed the process provided … and had a judgment to make and that’s the judgment we made.”

Cordray’s decision was immediately criticized by Republicans, including local prosecutor Mike DeWine, who said “I think taxpayers will be shocked to find that their tax dollars are going to defend them.” A year later, the voters tossed Cordray out of the AG’s office and elected DeWine.

“It was a discretionary call,” said Fitton. “Given the misconduct that was found, and that the [employees] were placed on leave, and were forced to resign, [the snooping] was done outside their official capacities” and did not deserve the state’s legal support. (White House will not name Elizabeth Warren to lead consumer bureau)

Despite Cordray’s courtroom support for government snoops, Obama chose him to head the new consumer protection bureau. “As Ohio’s attorney general, Rich helped recover billions of dollars in things like pension funds on behalf of retirees, and stepped up the state’s efforts against unscrupulous lending practices,” Obama said during a six-minute speech in the White House’s Rose Garden.

The new bureau puts “one consumer watchdog in charge, with just one job: looking out for regular people in the financial system,” Obama said. He was flanked by two Tele-prompters, Cordray, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, and Elizabeth Warren, a Harvard law professor who urged greater oversight of the financial sector by government-funded lawyers.

Obama did not answer questions.

Warren had worked for six months to establish the new agency and was slated to become the bureau’s first chief. The Senate’s Republican minority strongly opposed her role and the agency’s clout. Cordray’s nomination is widely seen as a White House effort to bypass the Republican opposition that would have faced Warren. (Warren: Consumer bureau ‘in reality is much better than the dream ever was’)

The Cordray controversy began when Obama was campaigning in Wurzelbacher’s Toledo neighborhood on October 12, 2008. Wurzelbacher asked about his tax plans and Obama’s responded that “It’s not that I want to punish your success; I just want to make sure that everybody who is behind you that they’ve got a chance at success, too. I think when you spread the wealth around, it’s good for everybody.” The media covered the exchange widely and Wurzelbacher appeared on ABC and CBS news shows. Republican candidate John McCain also cited the conversation in a presidential debate three days later.

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  • Gorbud

    Big money banks did not want Ms Warren so of course Obama did not appoint her. Don’t you people GET IT? Wall Street owns Pres. Obama lock, stock and barrel. Warren scares the heck out of the credit card industry. The crooks dictate to Obama and he rolls over. All you Liberals out there — you picked the wrong guy. Just move on and get a good solid, honest Liberal with a track record and run him for Pres. This guy will never support the core ideas of your Party. In the end he always gives in. Oh! BYW he seems to be more of a war hawk then Bush. Where is our next war going to come from?

  • BarkhornXX

    Quick someone grab the tin foil and my hat template.

  • Tess_Comments

    Obama should be concentrating on our National Debt right now, Not a New Agency.

    The USA does NOT need another Government Agency.
    How much (in tax dollars) has it cost so far just to put the idea together?

    SMALLER Government.
    Cut ALL Foreign Aid in HALF.
    CUT ALL Subsidies in Half.
    Make ALL Loopholes 50% SMALLER.

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  • Rumpus6

    Why the surprise? This is the Chicago way. Politics above all else. Ohio booted Richard Cordray out of office along with Ted Strickland (Governor) and Jennifer Brunner (Secretary of State). Strickland has found a home in the Obama administration and I’m sure Brunner will not be far behind. To me they all epitomized the Obama mantra of all politics all the time. As long as the Democrat party gets theirs all is well.

    • semihardrock

      It’s NOT the Chicago way…It’s the Russian style Communist way hence another hand picked Czar making the yea or nea vote from government eyes.

  • BarkhornXX

    This just in;

    “Obama appoints a political hack.”

    In other news;

    “Dog bites man.”

    Really, this is Obama we are talking about so you know we will not get anyone in there with integrity.

  • SunnyJ

    Once again, non-partisan Judicial Watch brings the truth to the table. Obama knows no shame in his attempt to fundamentally transform our republic into his crony socialist vision he gained from his father. Disgusting. Step up America, support Judicial Watch so they can keep bringing the facts and truth to the conversation. Without them, and other watch dog groups we the people have a snow ball’s chance in hell, of taking our country back from the corruption. Obama has always intended and stated that he plans to circumvent the elected bodies and use political placment and hiring with administrative rule to change this country. Tom Fitton of Judicial Watch says, “personnel is policy”…and with every personnel decision we see exactly where Obama is going and what his policies are.