Buzz at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is that director Richard Cordray is thinking about leaving the agency when his recess appointment expires at the end of next year, rather than go through another contentious confirmation battle.
A spokesperson at the bureau said Cordray, often talked about as a potential Democratic gubernatorial nominee in Ohio, has no plans to leave his job and the White House isn’t commenting. But his chances of getting confirmed are pretty much nil — and he can’t be re-recessed.
The governorship will be up for grabs in 2014, leading to speculation that Cordray will make a move. He lost earlier bids for the Senate and House.
Loop Fans may recall that Senate Republicans blocked his nomination in 2011, insisting that the administration first agree to have a five-member commission oversee the new consumer watchdog.
The stand-off left the bureau leaderless, unable to write any rules, so President Obama gave Cordray a recess appointment, an end-run that outraged Senate Republicans.
Even so, Cordray and his team forged ahead with rules to govern the financial services industry and enforcement actions to keep companies in line..
Just as the bureau is settling into the role of regulator, it is facing a potential leadership vacuum. Not only is Cordray’s term up in the coming year, but his deputy director Raj Date is stepping down on Jan.y 31.
Date, who helped build the agency from the ground up, would have been acting director in the Cordray left at the end of the year. But now it’s uncertain who would step into the role if Cordray departs.