Remember how dark money and outside spending totaled over $40 million against former Gov. Ted Strickland and for U.S. Sen. Rob Portman in 2016? Well it looks like for now Richard Cordray is their next target.
Yeah. Thanks to U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy in Citizens United, nearly a century of campaign finance law was obliterated in favor of unaccountable forces pouring massive amounts of cash into the system to buy elections.
If you were wondering, Kennedy still doesn’t care that he legalized political bribery and subjected the American Republic to endless plutocratic electioneering. With Portman’s reelection, the dark money forces saw that flooding the campaign market with unaccountable cash works. They started early, and they were able to frame the election the whole way through.
Looking at Ohio’s 2018 race for governor, they’re starting early again. Despite the fact that Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Richard Cordray is forbidden by federal election law to launch a bid for governor until he resigns his current position or gets fired by President Donald Trump, dark money is going after him already.
Now, the Democrats already have plenty of very strong candidates vying for the primary nomination. This includes former Ohio Senate Minority Leader Joe Schiavoni, former state Rep. Connie Pillich of Hamilton County, Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley, and former U.S. Representative Betty Sutton.
Those seeking the Republican nomination for Ohio governor in 2018 include Attorney General Mike DeWine, Secretary of State Jon Husted, U.S. Rep. Jim Renacci and Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor.
Nevertheless, something about Cordray – who previously served as Ohio state treasurer and attorney general – must strike fear into the reactionary heart. A story by Marty Schladen at the Columbus Dispatch this morning revealed that at least one dark money group has already launched a website against Cordray.
From Schladen’s report:
The secretive Protect America’s Consumers has put up a website that at first glance would seem to be promoting the Cordray campaign. It’s titled “Cordray for Ohio.”
Read down, however, and it becomes quickly evident that the site has an objective other than promoting Cordray, a Democrat, to be Ohio’s next governor.
“This is Richard Cordray, current boss of a huge and unaccountable organization named the CFPB and possible next governor of Ohio,” it says.
“During his political career, some of his biggest donors were trial lawyers. Now Richard is using his unchecked power to change rules at the CFPB that will make his lawyer friends even richer. He can do this because the CFPB answers to no one, not even the president.”
Oh the irony of dark money waxing ethical about accountability and using unchecked power to make their friends richer. And how about that absurd Orwellian name? “Protecting America’s Consumers.” These people have no shame. They are among the most morally bankrupt human beings breathing, and they probably sleep like babies. Let’s read on.
Cordray, a former Ohio attorney general, in July defended his agency’s performance. He said the bureau has returned more than $12 billion to consumers since it opened its doors six years ago as part of the sweeping changing in the financial industry under the Dodd-Frank law.
To the chagrin of some in the financial industry, the agency has promulgated rules intended to clamp down on pay-day lenders and has required greater disclosure of overdraft fees. Last month, it issued a rule in response to last year’s Wells Fargo scandal that would stop big banks from using mandatory-arbitration agreements to block lawsuits against them.
Oh gee, imagine that, Richard Cordray and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau protecting consumers. It must be frustrating for Wall Street and Big Banking, unable to exploit regular folks like they once could in the halcyon days just before they destroyed the economy and set off the 2008 Great Recession, costing the American people over $13 trillion dollars.
So who’s bankrolling this enterprise? Perhaps the people upset they can no longer shove around American consumers, gambling with folks’ mortgages and pensions as though they were drunkenly throwing around chips at a cheap Reno casino at 3 a.m.? Well, turns out, it’s hard to say. (Thanks again Anthony Kennedy! You’re a real mensch!)
It’s hard to know exactly who is behind the “Cordray for Ohio” website because Protect America’s Consumers was formed as a 501(c)(4) — a tax exempt “social welfare” organization that doesn’t have to disclose its donors. “Dark money” has gotten its name because a complete lack of transparency makes it impossible to identify who gave and the amounts they contributed.
The Sunlight Foundation, a nonpartisan transparency group, reported that Protect America’s Consumers was incorporated in 2015 and its registered agent shares a Virginia address with the law firm Holtzman Vogel Josefiak Torchinsky. The firm, which reportedly specializes in untraceable pressure groups that support conservative causes, couldn’t be reached for comment Monday.
Untraceable pressure groups that support conservative causes… yeah, sounds like a bunch of Tommy Do-Gooders looking out for the interests of us Ohioans.