Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas), the chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, has asked US Acting Special Counsel Adam Miles to investigate whether CFPB Director Richard Cordray is in violation of the Hatch Act, which bars executive-branch employees from participating in political activity.
In a Friday letter to Miles, Hensarling referenced media reports that quoted Ohio Supreme Court Justice Bill O’Neill
, according to Cleveland.com. O’Neill told reporters that he was contacted by a mutual friend of Cordray’s, who said the CFPB director was planning to run for Ohio governor. The friend allegedly asked O’Neill if he would stay out of the Ohio Democratic primary to make way for Cordray.
“If this occurred, it appears that Director Cordray indirectly contacted a potential primary rival to secure the rival’s commitment not to run for office,” Hensarling wrote. If true, that “may reasonably be construed” as a violation of the Hatch Act, he wrote.
Hensarling has long been a vocal and ferocious critic of Cordray and the CFPB as a whole, claiming more than once that the agency was guilty of “regulatory waterboarding” and decrying Cordray’s power. He’s also repeatedly called for Cordray to be fired – although under current rules, the director of the agency can only be fired for cause.
Were it determined that Cordray had violated the Hatch Act, he could be subject to penalties ranging from reprimand to firing, Cleveland.com reported.
Cordray has yet to publicly declare his intention to run for office.
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A top Republican is demanding a federal investigation into whether the director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is violating election law in a rumored run for governor of Ohio.