Posted by | July 18, 2011 16:58 | Filed under: Top Stories

By Yashwanth Manjunath

Who Obama would appoint to be the head of the newly created Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has been a source of controversy and debate among progressives for the past year. Back in August I wrote about how under no circumstance would Elizabeth Warren be appointed to head the new agency. Now that it is official — Obama is going to appoint Richard Cordray to the post — I would like to say “I told you so” to all of the progressives who disagreed with me.

Kidding aside, given the grossly corrupt state of our political system, and how horribly inadequate both political parties have become at serving the best interests of the middle class, I am actually pleasantly surprised and encouraged by the appointment of Cordray. Cordray has Elizabeth Warren’s firm endorsement and is a strong ally of hers. In a statement about Cordray’s appointment Warren told Huffington Post:

“Rich has always had my strong support because he is tough and he is smart-and that’s exactly the combination this new agency needs. He was one of the first senior leaders I recruited for the agency, and his work and commitment have made it clear that he will make a stellar director.”

Cordray has also displayed a concern for and commitment to the best interests of the middle class in its dealings with major financial institutions while he was Attorney General in Ohio. In 2009 Cordray represented several public pension funds for investor class-action lawsuits against Bank of America for its acquisition of Merrill Lynch. The claim was that Bank of America misled investors about the financial health of Merrill Lynch before the purchase of the company, and concealed significant bonus payments to top executives. Cordray’s office sought “billions” of dollars from not just Bank of America, but individual executives at the company as well, for their mishandling of the merger.

Cordray is clearly not a Wall Street shill in the vein of Geithner or Summers, and his appointment is a step in the right direction for the Obama administration and their attitude towards Wall Street predation.

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