ATR led a coalition letter expressing support for legislation by Congressman Ted Budd (N.C.-13) and Alex Mooney (W.V.-2) that would eliminate Dodd-Frank’s Office of Financial Research (H.R. 5470).
As a result of the 2008 financial crisis and the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, legislators created the Office of Financial Research (OFR) to examine the systematic risk in financial markets.
Its independent Director serves a six-year term and is given unilateral power under Dodd-Frank to collect the data and spending habits of Americans. Essentially, OFR can force banks to turn over data and consumer information by exercising its own subpoena authority.
By design, Congress handicapped any oversight of the agency by allowing it to set its own budget as it is funded outside of the traditional appropriations processes, removing Congressional “power of the purse” authority. While not funded by tax dollars, it’s instead funded by fees imposed on banks, which goes to paying the agency’s small 300 personnel who aren’t even subject to the typical civil-service salary caps.
Agencies like the Federal Reserve, Securities and Exchange Commission, Commodities and Futures Trade Commission, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, and other agencies, have legions of economists that have been doing the same research as OFR before and after its creation.
OFR’s existence only serves to hurt American consumers. Realizing this and OFR’s massive invasion of consumer privacy, unaccountability, ineffectiveness, and waste, Congressman Ted Budd and Alex Mooney introduced H.R. 5470. Their bill would eliminate the OFR completely by striking any mention of it from Dodd-Frank.
Americans for Tax Reform led the coalition letter to supporting this legislation, which can be found here and below.
July 9, 2018
Dear Congressmen Ted Budd and Alex Mooney,
On behalf of our organizations and Americans we represent, we write to express support of your legislation, H.R. 5470. This legislation will eliminate the Office of Financial Research, a duplicative department created from Dodd-Frank and without congressional oversight.
In response to the financial recession Congress passed Dodd-Frank, creating a myriad of new rules, regulations and agencies. One of these agencies is the independent Office of Financial Research, with the mission of collecting and analyzing data and risk toward financial markets. OFR is funded outside the appropriations process, and instead receives its funding through fees collected from predominantly bank holding companies and some non-financial companies. In order for the agency to have access to this data, Congress granted OFR sweeping authority to collect information from the companies that fund it, including regulatory agencies, using subpoena power.
This legislation would eliminate OFR and therefore its redundancies as an agency. OFR’s objective of analyzing data already exists within roughly 20 other agencies, departments, bureaus, committees and federal sectors, most notably within the Department of the Treasury, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and the Federal Reserve. H.R. 5470 would also place the Financial Stability Oversight Council under the appropriations process as the Council currently receives their operating expenses for OFR.
We, the undersigned organizations, support H.R. 5470 and its underlying provisions to eliminate a redundant agency created from Dodd-Frank.
President, Americans for Tax Reform
Brent Wm. Gardner
Chief Government Affairs Officer, Americans for Prosperity
Senior Fellow, Competitive Enterprise Institute
President, Council for Citizens Against Government Waste
President, National Taxpayers Union