Last summer, on his final day of work at the nation’s consumer finance watchdog agency, a career economist sent colleagues a blunt memo. He claimed that President Trump’s appointees at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau had manipulated the agency’s research process to justify altering a 2017 rule that would have sharply curtailed high-interest payday loans.
The departing staff member, Jonathan Lanning, detailed several maneuvers by his agency’s political overseers that he considered legally risky and scientifically indefensible, including pressuring staff economists to water down their findings on payday loans and use statistical gimmicks to downplay the harm consumers would suffer if the payday restrictions were repealed.
That figures, since Trump's appointee Kathleen Kraninger is a purely political animal.
The consumer bureau’s original rule, an Obama-era initiative finalized in late 2017, was poised to be the first national regulation of payday loans. Democrats in Congress have pressed Ms. Kraninger for details about its proposed revision, with mixed success.
“They’re moving quickly to establish this rule because they think they can take advantage of the time we don’t have to focus on them right now,” said Representative Maxine Waters, a California Democrat who heads the House Financial Services Committee.