WASHINGTON (Legal Newsline) -- U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters, the ranking Democrat on the House Financial Services Committee, vowed Tuesday to allow Richard Cordray, director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, to testify before the panel.

The Hill reported Tuesday that the California Congresswoman sent a letter to U.S. Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas.

In it, Waters accuses the committee's chairman of "unilaterally" ruling on the legality of Cordray's appointment.

"The notion that some legal scholars dispute the constitutionality of Director Cordray's appointment does not in fact make it 'clear'... that the constitutionality of Director Cordray's appointment is currently invalid or will inevitably overturned," she wrote, according to The Hill.

"Until the Supreme Court rules on the constitutionality of Director Cordray's appointment... he is the director of the CFPB and must be treated as such."

Waters, in her letter, told Hensarling that she was "prepared to use the rules of the committee" to provide Cordray with the opportunity to testify before the committee.

On Monday, Hensarling, in a single-page letter, informed Cordray, a former Ohio attorney general, that he could not testify because under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act he must be appointed with the advice and consent of the Senate, which he has not.

The CFPB was created by the Dodd-Frank regulatory overhaul and is tasked with overseeing the federal financial laws that specifically protect consumers -- people who keep their money in banks and credit unions, pay for goods and services with their credit cards, and rely on loans to buy homes or pay for college, among other services.

In January, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled that President Barack Obama's "intrasession appointment" of three new members to the National Labor Relations Board was an unconstitutional abuse of power.

Cordray was appointed to director of the CFPB the same day as the three NLRB members.

Obama has already renominated Cordray to the position.

"Because you were appointed on the same day and in the exact same manner as these unconstitutional appointments, it is clear, as a number of legal scholars have concluded, that your appointment was also unconstitutional," Hensarling wrote Cordray.

"Absent contrary guidance from the United States Supreme Court, you do not meet the statutory requirements of a validly-serving director of the CFPB, and cannot be recognized as such."

Though he was not permitted to deliver a semi-annual report on the bureau's activities to the House panel, Cordray appeared before a Senate committee Tuesday to present the report.

From Legal Newsline: Reach Jessica Karmasek by email at jessica@legalnewsline.com.

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