Think Tank Challenges Constitutionality of Bureau

COLUMBUS, Ohio—The Buckeye Institute is the latest to call on the U.S. Supreme Court to rule that the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection is unconstitutional.

Buckeye Institute

As has previously reported, numerous groups, including companies named in BCFP actions, have sought to pursue similar arguments in the courts.

The Buckeye Institute, a free-market think tank, objects to the BCFP’s unique structure that it says has too much independence from the president of the U.S. and Congress. An amicus brief filed by the institute claims that this structure violates the separation of powers and allows unelected bureaucrats to usurp power that belongs to elected officials, reported.

“The power that the (BCFP) director holds is perhaps the most extreme example of administrative independence to date, and that power is relatively unchecked by presidential or congressional oversight," Robert Alt, president of The Buckeye Institute, said in a statement.

"Once confirmed, the (BCFP) director answers to essentially no one and is free from any meaningful form of democratic accountability by which the states or their citizens might hold him or her accountable,” he said. “This much unaccountable power in the hands of one individual is a clear violation of the separation of powers and it must be reined in."

BCFP Structure ‘Unprecedented’

Alt told that the independent structure of the BCFP is unprecedented. Although Congress can require a BCFP director to appear in front of Congress, he said, Congress cannot force him to answer any questions.

The BCFP, Alt argued, is insulated from any form of review and lacks any kind of accountability.

Alt told that the Bureau's structure and unaccountable authority is an attack on American federalism. The authority to regulate certain industries that are traditionally regulated by the states, such as interest rates, is being usurped by the BCFP, he said.

Although Alt said that the BCFP could potentially restructure itself to fit Constitutional guidelines, there “would have to be a radical restructuring,” such as allowing the director to be removed by the president and requiring more overview. He said this would require a substantial rewrite of the BCFP’s structure, which he said was intentionally designed to avoid accountability.

The case for which the Buckeye Institute filed the amicus brief, State National Bank of Big Spring v. Mnuchin, was filed in 2012 by the Competitive Enterprise Institute, the 60 Plus Association, and the State National Bank of Big Spring, Texas.

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