Senator Doug Jones Calls for Investigation into Improper Political Influence on Repeal of Federal Payday Lending Rule

Senator Doug Jones (D-Ala.) is leading a call for Federal Reserve Board Inspector General Mark Bialek to open an investigation into the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) rulemaking process that led to the repeal of the Payday, Vehicle Title, and Certain High-Cost Installment Loans Rule (Payday Rule). Joining Senator Jones in the letter are Senators Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.).

“Recent press reports detail a CFPB rulemaking process that, if true, flagrantly violates the Administrative Procedure Act’s (APA) requirements—in which political appointees exerted improper influence, manipulated or misinterpreted economic research, and overruled career staff to support a predetermined outcome,” wrote Senator Jones, a member of the Senate Banking Committee, and his colleagues.

The letter continues, “In light of these disturbing allegations, we ask that you investigate to determine whether the Bureau’s process for reconsidering and repealing the 2017 Payday Rule violated the Administrative Procedures Act or other federal laws and regulations.”

Senator Jones has been a strong advocate for payday lending protections. In February 2019, the Senator released a statement regarding his disapproval of CFPB’s decision to weaken payday lending protections. In 2018 when the CFPB initially indicated that it wanted to reverse the 2017 payday lending rule, Senator Jones called for the dismissal of this action. Senator Jones also has repeatedly addressed the importance of maintaining a strong payday lending rule with both former CFPB Acting Director Mick Mulvaney and current CFPB Director Kathleen Kraninger during Senate Banking Committee hearings.