Trump Confidant Lewandowski Calls for Firing CFPB's Cordray

(Bloomberg) -- Former presidential campaign manager Corey Lewandowski urged the Trump administration to fire the head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, a sign that Republicans are stepping up attacks on the agency that’s targeted Wall Street conduct.

During an interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday, Lewandowski said without prompting that he wanted incoming White House Chief of Staff John Kelly to push for the firing of CFPB Director Richard Cordray, a Democrat mentioned as a possible candidate for Ohio governor in 2018.

Trump Confidant Lewandowski Calls for Firing CFPB's Cordray

“He’s a person who is now all but running for governor in the state of Ohio, and he’s sitting in federal office right now,” Lewandowski said. “I hope that the new chief of staff looks at him moving forward and saying it’s time to act decisively.”

Lewandowski cited a rule issued this month by the consumer bureau that would make it easier for customers to sue banks by restricting the use of mandatory arbitration to block class-action lawsuits. “It’s going to be about a trillion dollars’ worth of arbitration that the government’s going to have to go through now,” he said.

A spokesman for the CFPB declined to comment on Lewandowski’s remarks.

The futures of the bureau, created after the 2008 financial crisis, and Cordray, whose term ends in July 2018, have become the subject of mounting speculation in Washington. The Trump administration has said it wants the ability to dismiss Cordray at any time for any reason, a change from current rules that say the president can only fire him for cause. Democrats say the agency serves as a necessary advocate for ordinary Americans, while Republicans say it oversteps its mandate and that Cordray’s power is unconstitutional.

No Announcement

Cordray hasn’t said he plans to run in Ohio to replace Republican Governor John Kasich, who must leave office at the beginning of 2019 because of term limits. Politico reported in April that White House economic adviser Gary Cohn expected Cordray to run in next year’s race. Brent Larkin, a former editorial director for the Plain Dealer in Cleveland, has said he would expect Cordray to join the race no later than September.

Lewandowski, who in May left the lobbying and consulting firm he co-founded after the 2016 election, said in the NBC interview that he had no clients who would benefit from Cordray’s removal.

But the firm, Avenue Strategies, collected $120,000 from Community Choice Financial Inc. during the second quarter for lobbying work related to “efforts regarding payday lending rules and regulations,” according to a lobbying disclosure form filed with Congress.

Lewandowski, a long-time Republican political consultant, also flew with Trump on Air Force One to a rally in Ohio on July 25.