Attorneys General Back Cordray for Consumer Protection Bureau

The White House isn’t backing away any time soon from Richard Cordray’s bid to become the first director of the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

The administration enlisted the help of 37 attorneys general, both Republicans and Democrats, to push for their former colleague, Ohio’s previous attorney general, and sing his praises. The attorneys general sent a letter Tuesday to every member of the Senate, asking them to overcome their opposition to Cordray and the CFPB in general.The letter, organized by the National Association of Attorneys General, called Cordray “both brilliant and balanced,” arguing that he would “an honest broker and strong advocate for both businesses and consumers that are committed to following the rules.”

Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff said attorneys general around the country are particularly concerned about protecting average Americans from predatory lending practices and other unscrupulous behavior on the part of banks because they have spent the last several years prosecuting related caes against defendants such as Countrywide mortgage.

“We know [Cordray’s] track record in protecting consumers…It’s important for us as attorneys general to lend our support,” Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff told reporters on a conference call.

Cordray’s nomination has been held up in the Senate where 44 of 46 Senate Republicans have pledged to block any progress on getting the CFPB up and running properly until significant changes are made to the bureau including replacing the director with a commission and allowing other bank regulators to knock down the bureau’s rules. The White House has pledged full support for the bureau as created, threatening to veto any bill that would water down it’s ability to go after financial institutions.

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, a former two-term GOP U.S. senator who defeated Cordray in 2010, was notably absent from the list of signatures.

But DeWine told the Cleveland Plain Dealer that he is backing Cordray for the position but just didn’t want to tell his former Senate colleagues what to do.

“When Richard was nominated … I said he’s highly qualified. He will do an excellent job,” DeWine said today.

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