August 01, 2018

Warren Urges Banking Committee Chair Crapo to Delay Confirmation Vote Until CFPB Nominee Provides Documents and Information Wrongfully Withheld from Members of Congress

Kraninger Written Responses Imply Involvement in Child Separation Policy but She Refuses to Provide Information about her Role; Warren "Deeply Concerned" About Crapo's Willingness to Accept Trump Administration's Baseless Refusal to Turn Over Relevant and Non-Privileged Documents

Text of letter (PDF)

Text of Nominee's Responses (PDF)

Washington, DC - United States Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) today sent a letter to the Chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, Mike Crapo, urging him to delay a Committee vote on the nomination of Kathy Kraninger to be Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) until the Trump Administration provides all relevant and non-privileged material Committee members have requested about Ms. Kraninger's management record. Ms. Kraninger has still not answered Senator Warren's and Banking Committee Ranking Member Sherrod Brown's June 18th letter asking for documents related to her involvement in the separation of thousands of children from their families at the U.S. southern border. 

In recently submitted written responses to Questions for the Record (QFRs) submitted by Senator Warren and other Committee members, Kraninger suggested that she was extensively involved in the implementation of the child separation policy. She stated that she participated in meetings related to immigration and border security policy and that OMB - where Kraninger is a senior official overseeing two of the agencies implementing the child separation policy - "has an extensive role" in supporting agencies implementing the President's priorities and agenda. This admission by Kraninger underscores the need for Committee members to get a more detailed account of her specific role in this policy. 

The Trump Administration and Chairman Crapo have offered three reasons for denying members access to this information. None are valid:

  • Chairman Crapo asserted that the requested material is about an "extraneous" administration policy, but the Trump Administration has repeatedly cited Ms. Kraninger's management experience as the basis for her nomination. "Ms. Kraninger's management of 'seven Cabinet agencies,' including the agencies responsible for child separations at the border, cannot simultaneously qualify her for the CFPB job and be off-limits from scrutiny by members of this Committee," wrote Senator Warren.
  • Chairman Crapo suggested that all the requested documents and information were protected by the deliberative process privilege, but neither Ms. Kraninger nor the Trump Administration has formally invoked any privilege and multiple legal precedents show that the privilege would not cover many of the types of documents requested in the June 18th letter and in the written QFRs.
  • On ten occasions, Ms. Kraninger claimed in her response to written questions that "any such document would not belong to me, and as a result, I would not have the authority to produce any such documents if they existed." But whether Kraninger herself is the custodian of these documents is not relevant -- the Trump Administration put forth her nomination to head this important agency and whoever is the proper custodian within the Trump Administration can and should produce the documents to the Committee so that it can evaluate the management record that is the basis for Ms. Kraninger's nomination.

Information about Kraninger's record at OMB is vital to evaluating her nomination to head the CFPB because Kraninger has no experience or record in consumer protection or financial services. The Trump Administration identified Kraninger's management experience as her primary qualification for the job. "Ms. Kraninger and the Trump Administration have offered no credible legal or factual basis for withholding this information, yet you are accepting the Administration's position and pressing forward with a rushed vote on Ms. Kraninger's nomination," wrote Senator Warren to Chairman Crapo. "I am deeply concerned by your willingness to accept the Administration's untenable position and your refusal to work with your Committee members - as you have in the past - to resolve their good-faith concerns."

Senator Warren called on Chairman Crapo to postpone the vote and work with Committee members to ensure they obtain the relevant information on Kraninger's record before she is given a promotion to lead the CFPB.