Cordray gets support from Calif. AG

John O'Brien Dec. 9, 2011, 11:18am

WASHINGTON (Legal Newsline) - California Attorney General Kamala Harris expressed support Thursday for Richard Cordray, the former Ohio Attorney General whose nomination to a federal post has been met with resistance.

Earlier Thursday, U.S. Senate Republicans had blocked a vote on Cordray's nomination to head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, a new agency created by the Dodd-Frank regulatory overhaul. It is tasked with regulating consumer financial products.

"Richard Cordray has worked to protect middle-class families," Harris said. "He's an American who finds solutions to our most pressing problems, and that's why his nomination is supported by both Democrats and Republicans around the country, including the National Association of Attorneys General."

State attorneys general have shown support for Cordray, who was elected in 2008 to fill a vacancy created when Marc Dann resigned during a sex scandal. In November 2010, however, Ohioans voted him out of office, opting for former Congressman Mike DeWine.

In October, 37 attorneys general sent a letter supporting Cordray to Majority Leader Harry Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

"We are Attorneys General from across the country who represent a wide range of political interests," the letter said.

"Some of us may disagree with aspects of the Dodd-Frank legislation. But we are united in our belief that Mr. Cordray is very well qualified to carry out the responsibilities of this position."

President Barack Obama, who nominated Cordray in July, said what Republicans are doing "makes no sense" and that he will not give up on the nomination.

Prior to being attorney general, Cordray served as the Ohio State Treasurer and as treasurer of Franklin County, Ohio. He also served as a member of the Ohio House of Representatives and as the state's first solicitor.

In addition to Republicans, the American Tort Reform Association also has said it is skeptical of Cordray's nomination to the post.

ATRA questions his relationships with private attorneys he hired to pursue state lawsuits while serving as attorney general.

"Mr. Cordray appears to share CFPB architect Elizabeth Warren's often voiced belief that litigation is a perfectly legitimate means by which to craft public policy, even though it sidesteps duly elected lawmakers and executives, and even though it lacks proper transparency," ATRA President Tiger Joyce said.

Private attorneys hired by Cordray to sue the three major credit rating agencies are currently appealing a ruling against them. The lawsuit, filed on behalf of five public pension funds, claim $457 million in losses and allege the agencies helped cause the collapse of the housing and credit markets.

The private firms hired by Cordray for the lawsuit were: Lieff, Cabraser, Heimann & Bernstein of New York; Entwistle & Capucci of New York; and Schottenstein Zox & Dunn of Columbus.

Employees of the Lieff firm gave $50,000 to the Ohio Democratic Party in 2008. The party gave Cordray more than $1.8 million for his campaign that year. The Schottenstein firm gave $23,500 to Cordray from 2008-10.

Obama supported Harris in her 2010 campaign.

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