Obama tries to dress Cordray up as an above-the-fray leader in Cleveland. But Cordray’s record shows something else.

Yesterday, former President Barack Obama stumped for Democrat Richard Cordray in Cleveland.


But in the course of typical Obama-standard eloquent and articulate remarks, the former Commander-in-Chief seems to have glossed over a bunch of flaws in Cordray’s record that directly contradict Obama’s portrayal of him.

In yesterday’s speech, Obama characterized Republicans as “try[ing] to pit one against another.” While the comment was ostensibly relevant to immigration policy, Cincinnati-based GOP consultant Dan Blum who works on financial services regulatory issues and is a Cordray critic pointed out in an email to Ohio political reporters that “there were… lots of politics being played inside Cordray’s CFPB,” which allegedly included “loads of discrimination against conservative or Republican employees at the CFPB.”


Blum’s assertion was backed up by a former CFPB employee-turned-whistleblower in an email seen by Muckraker.

That whistleblower, and some former colleagues, have become Cordray’s fiercest– if not entirely visible– critics in the race for governor. They assert that Cordray oversaw a toxic work environment where employees were routinely pitted against each other and discrimination was rampant.

When Obama nominated Cordray to head the CFPB, he said that “We can’t let politics stand in the way of doing the right thing in Washington.”

But according to reports, as CFPB Chief, Cordray ran an agency that “was hit with an unprecedented number of complaints under Cordray’s watch, including alleged discrimination against women, blacks, older workers, immigrants and gays.”

That is in addition to anti-Republican and anti-conservative discrimination, which was allegedly the worst and most prevalent discrimination within the bureau.

Blum also pointed out to reporters the contrast between Obama’s statement when nominating Cordray and the reality of how Cordray ultimately secured the job at CFPB. “When Republicans blocked Cordray’s nomination on grounds that the structure of the CFPB was somewhere between bad and unconstitutional… Obama put Cordray in on a recess appointment that broke with prior precedent on how recess appointments are used,” Blum said in an email.
Blum also asserts that Cordray quit his job as CFPB chief in an “overtly political way… Cordray tried to name his chief of staff as CFPB deputy director so that she could serve as acting director. Ultimately courts saw through this bogus plan.”
Criticisms of Cordray as operating well within the frame of politics-as-usual are highly relevant in 2018, given that many swing and Independent voters– whose support he seeks to attract– are manifestly put off by alleged politicization of non-political roles in government under the Trump administration, and increasing partisan divides that result in continual sniping between parties with few policy results being achieved.
While staunch Republicans and conservatives are unlikely to believe the hype that President Obama did not himself engage in many of these same shenanigans, it is not helpful for Cordray to be perceived as a dime-a-dozen political hack, especially in a race with Attorney General Mike DeWine whose profile has lately been more associated with non-partisan issues like addressing the opioid crisis than the usual inter-party slugfests.
However, there remains a reluctance on the part of some Ohio media to dive into Cordray’s record because of his image as extremely bland and uninteresting. However, as one critic of Cordray routinely puts it, “his actual record at CFPB is an opposition research treasure trove.”
Muckraker will continue exploring it.


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