(UnitedVoice.com) – In world history, no government before the creation of the United States was constrained by co-equal branches of government. The very purpose of the doctrine of separation of powers enshrined into the US Constitution was to ensure that neither one person nor branch of government would concentrate power. To accomplish that goal, there are checks and balances. Unfortunately, it appears that Congress continues to erode this most basic of principles.
In the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis, Congress passed the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010 (Dodd-Frank Act). It was the most sweeping financial reform in US history. It sought to regulate markets and protect consumers. However, parts of it came at extreme cost. In particular, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) stripped the power of the purse from Congress and took oversight away from the executive branch. In essence, it became a legal branch of government outside of the Constitution. However, a new lawsuit seeks to change all that.
Independence From the Constitution
The brainchild of far-left Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), the CFPB was created by Congress to ensure that banks, lenders, and other financial companies treat their customers and the public fairly. That includes ensuring consumers have choices when it comes to financial products. However, the law creates a serious workaround to any Constitutional or political curtailing of the agency.
First, the CFPB is financially independent of Congress. Instead of receiving funding from duly-elected lawmakers, it gets its funding from the Federal Reserve System. The CFPB can request up to 12% of the Fed’s earnings every year. But wait, it gets better. While the CFPB can draw funds from the Federal Reserve, it’s not accountable to it. The Fed is intentionally prohibited from interfering with its funding or how it operates. Plus, the House and Senate cannot review the agency’s funding or how it spends its money.
So Who Watches Over the CFPB?
No one! The CFPB is accountable to no one. It doesn’t answer to Congress, the executive branch, or the Federal Reserve. It’s an agency that acts in complete isolation with an incredible amount of authority over the economy.
Congress created a fourth branch of government without a Constitutional Amendment. They intentionally created an agency without a check and balance. Now, the New Civil Liberties Alliance (NCLA) wants the courts to solve the problem.
In a case titled “Law Offices of Crystal Moroney, P.C. v. CFPB,” the Second Circuit Court is about to hear the case questioning the Nondelegation Doctrine. The suit alleges that Congress cannot delegate its legislative or appropriated powers to an executive branch agency, much less one that’s not accountable to anyone.
It’s up to the courts to reestablish the Constitutional role of Congress. Five of the nine justices have expressed support for the Nondelegation Doctrine. It might be time for Congress to finally start legislating according to the Constitution instead of giving their power away.
Don Purdum, Independent Political Analyst
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