Resource

Memorandum in Support of Motion for Summary Judgement

We sued the Trump-era CFPB over its illegal Taskforce on Federal Consumer Financial Law
Last updated: 8/23/2021

U.S. PIRG, the National Association of Consumer Advocates and Professor Kathleen Engel, represented by public interest law firm Democracy Forward, sued the Trump-era Consumer Financial Protection Bureau for establishing an illegal Taskforce on Federal Consumer Financial Law. We argued that the one-sided taskforce violated the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA). Earlier this year, a U.S. District Court rejected the CFPB's motion to dismiss our claims. Our attorneys then unsuccessfully attempted good-faith settlement negotiations. On Friday, 20 August, our attorneys filed a motion for summary judgement and this memorandum (downloadable from this page) describing the problems with the Taskforce and listing our claims for relief, including a request for an injunction against use of its final report or other work product and a requirement that any dissemination of the report include a conspicuous disclaimer.

Excerpt:

"Congress established the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to protect consumers from confusing, predatory financial products in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis. Twelve years later, the Bureau chartered a Taskforce on Federal Consumer Financial Law, purportedly to examine consumer finance laws and report its recommendations for how to improve them. The Federal Advisory Committee Act, or FACA, was designed to ensure that committees like the Taskforce serve the public interest. Yet the Bureau created the Taskforce without even attempting to comply with FACA’s most basic requirements—the Bureau never showed any need for the Taskforce, the Taskforce largely conducted its operations in secret, and the Taskforce was composed of a biased slate of individuals with ties to the consumer finance industry that the Bureau was established to regulate. [...]

IV. The Court should order complete relief.

"The Bureau created and operated an advisory committee that is subject to FACA without even attempting to comply with the statute. Unsurprisingly, that committee produced a biased report—one which will be used to further the interests of the consumer financial services industry. The Court should therefore order all relief necessary to remedy Plaintiffs’ harms and to vindicate FACA. Specifically, the Court should order (1) a use injunction, (2) a limited use injunction (a disclaimer on the Report whenever disseminated), (3) the release of all remaining Taskforce records, and (4) appropriate declaratory relief."

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