Oh My: Consumer Protection Head Used Private Device, Didn't Properly Save Messages (Just Like Clinton)

Matt Vespa
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Posted: Jan 24, 2017 8:50 PM
Oh My: Consumer Protection Head Used Private Device, Didn't Properly Save Messages (Just Like Clinton)

It looks like Hillary Clinton wasn’t the only person who didn’t follow federal record keeping regulations. The Daily Caller has the scoop. Apparently, Richard Cordray, head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), like Hillary—used a private device and did not properly update his record of his communications. The Caller reported that a source uncovered this development through a series of Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA) requests regarding Mr. Cordray’s text messages. The publication also pointed out that using a private device isn’t necessarily against the rule, as long as an electronic copy of the communication from the private device is made no later than 20 days after the original message was sent. There were no records for Cordray dating back to January of 2015. The initial messages were thought not contain official business, until the CFPB told the Caller’s source that "RC" stood for Mr. Cordray, confirming that he was using his private device for official business in communications with fellow CFPB staffers as indicated in the spreadsheet. All credit to the Daily Caller:

A source told TheDC that he submitted a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request in August 2016 for more than a year’s worth of text messages on official devices to and from various CFPB staffers.

The bureau responded that there were no records on any “CFPB issued or CFPB reimbursed devices” for any text messages sent or received associated with Cordray.

[…]

CFPB then released to our source a much larger collection of messages, put together in a spreadsheet. Again, no official messages to or from Cordray were included.

In the spreadsheet, the identity of the CFPB staffer associated with the texts is disclosed, but the identity of the sender/receiver is redacted and simply listed as “(b)(6),” meaning the information is withheld to protect privacy.

However, some of those messages, such as this with David Bleicken [acting associate director for the division of supervision], ends with the signature “RC,” in row 168 pictured below.

Later, the CFPB acknowledged to our source that in row 168, “RC” is indeed Richard Cordray, confirming that he had used a private device for official business.

[…]

The source then obtained a record of all messages and voicemails from Cordray’s private device to and from other CFPB staffers via another FOIA request, and exclusively provided them to TheDC.

Again, the Caller reiterated that these are only communications between Cordray and other CFPB employees. The CFPB told the publication regarding the text messages on Cordray’s private device and the fact that no records seem to have been found dating as far back as January 1, 2015 that “circumstances such as travel or a dead Blackberry battery sometimes lead Bureau employees to use a personal device. These text messages between Director Cordray and CFPB employees were captured in the Bureau’s electronic storage system and produced to the public after a FOIA request.”

TheDC asked a follow up question: “The messages were able to be released to the public via FOIA because they were with other CFPB employees. As per the response to the FOIA request on August 31st, 2016, there were no official records of Richard Cordray’s private messages, despite the fact he was conducting business on a private device on and off since January 2015. Since no official records for Richard Cordray were found in the initial FOIA request, are we to infer that he has been traveling or had a dead Blackberry battery since January 1, 2015?”

The CFPB did not respond to this question by press time.

The CFPB director cannot be dismissed without cause. This seems to be a glaring one. Hillary Clinton did go a step further by setting up her own private email server that wasn’t authorized by the State Department, nor was it secure—opening us to national security risks. The inconsistency of Clinton’s narrative regarding her emails, with some of those communications undercutting her story as to why she had multiple devices and the server to begin with, only solidified her reputation as someone who isn’t honest or trustworthy. She said the system she had was set up as a matter of convenience. It was actually because she didn’t want people to have the ability to access her personal information. To make matters worse, she said she turned over all work-related emails; well this one wasn’t turned over. Still, it doesn't the negate that fact that Mr. Cordray sent an electronic communication on a private device and didn't keep a record of it.

The fact that Cordray apparently didn’t think he needed to follow the rules regarding official record keeping could be a point of contention, especially since, as DC noted, a lot of Republicans want him out. Moreover, this isn’t the most arduous regulation to follow. You sent a message on a private device; you make an electronic copy within 20 days. And this wasn’t a two-week, or even a month gap. It goes back to January of 2015. It’s possible that Mr. Cordray could run for governor of Ohio in 2018. Hillary Clinton was denied the presidency for not being honest about her emails and keeping an updated record of them. Cordray did less, but could it deny him the governors mansion should he run in 2018? It all depends on how he handles this issue.