WASHINGTON -- Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) endorsed President Barack Obama's nominee to head the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau on Monday, according to The Boston Globe.
His backing of former Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray will likely have little to no effect on Cordray's prospects for actually securing the nomination. A total of 44 other Senate Republicans, more than enough to filibuster a vote on Cordray's appointment, have already vowed not to approve any CFPB director unless the agency's capabilities are limited by new laws.
Cordray was the law enforcement official most aggressively pursuing action against banks on foreclosure fraud until he was ousted by a Republican challenger in late 2010. Elizabeth Warren, the consumer advocate who conceived of the CFPB and who is now challenging Brown for his Senate seat, hired Cordray to head enforcement activity at the bureau shortly thereafter. Obama nominated him to head the agency after passing over Warren, whose public criticism of big banks and the Wall Street bailout had agitated congressional Republicans and Democratic campaign donors from the financial industry.
Meanwhile, Warren has given Cordray her full support for CFPB director, and Republican groups have continued their efforts to tie Warren to the Occupy Wall Street movement and portray that association in a negative light. Warren has not stopped criticizing big banks, although she insists that everyone involved in the protests must "obey the law."
Brown, whose top career campaign donors include Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Barclays and the hedge fund Paulson & Co., was one of just three Republicans to vote in favor of the Dodd-Frank financial reform bill. He withheld his vote, however, until he had secured highly targeted legislative favors for hometown banking giant State Street.