Connect with us

Business News

The CFPB isn’t getting any love from the DOJ in lawsuit with PHH

(NEWS) The CFPB is getting sued and the DOJ has decided they won’t be helping the consumer watchdog agency win.

Published

on

consumers cfpb

CFPB vs DOJ

The Department of Justice (DOJ) on Friday filed their long awaited brief in the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau (CFPB) vs PHH Corporation case. The motion pits the DOJ against the consumer watchdog agency.

bar
What beef could the DOJ possible have with an agency dedicated to protecting consumers? The debate all comes down to the CFPB’s unique structure, which the DOJ argues is unconstitutional.

Sovereign or nah?

“The Department of Justice argues that an independent agency with one sole individual at its head who can only be removed for cause is unconstitutional—and the exception permitted by the Supreme Court for independent agencies with a commission form of governance should not be extended to agencies with only one agency head,” explains Joseph Lynyak III, a partner at Dorsey & Whitney International Law Firm and one of the nation’s leading experts when it comes to the CFPB.

Essentially, the DOJ is arguing against the CFPB’s sovereignty.

According to the DOJ, the executive branch can’t effectively check the CFPB’s powers due to a “for cause” removal provision. This provision, only allows the CFPB’s director to be removed for “inefficiency, neglect of duty or malfeasance of office.”

The “for cause” clause

This “for cause” provision has been a major source of contention for the CFPB.

Last October, the the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Washington, D.C. Circuit struck down the clause.

With Friday’s motion, the DOJ has sided with the appeals court in favor of removing the clause and allowing the president to remove the CFPB’s director at will.

The real remedy

CFPB supporters may see this as a major blow to the agency. Others see striking down the “for cause” provision as a shortsighted, limited solution.

In fact, PHH, the mortgage lender that started it all by challenging the CFPB’s constitutionality wants the agency completely dissolved.

However, history shows that the courts are not willing to go down that route. “Unlike the legal position taken by PHH (which strongly argues that nothing can correct the constitutional defects inherent in the structure of the CFPB), the Department of Justice argues in its brief that the remedy adopted by the three-judge panel (i.e., striking the “for cause” provision and allowing the president to fire the Director of the CFPB without cause) is correct.

Importantly, this remedy was the focal point of a Supreme Court case written by the Chief Justice in 2010,” Lynyak points out. Lynyak is referring to 2010’s Free Enterprise Fund v. Public Company Accounting Oversight Board ruling. In that case, the court also struck down the “for cause” provision.

Constitutionality

“In addition, while the DOJ concedes that the PHH case could be decided without addressing the constitutional issues, it correctly indicates that at some point in the immediate future the constitutionality of the CFPB will have to be addressed,” adds Lynyak.

This may eventually leave the CFPB’s future in the hands of the nation’s highest court.

“Whether the determination is made in this case or another case, eventually an inferior court will issue a decision adverse to the CFPB that will force the U.S. Supreme Court to take up the case,” Lynyak tells Bloomberg Law.

It could go all the way

It’s hard to predict whether this case will go all the way to U.S. Supreme Court.

What we do know is that the court’s ruling could have a major effect on any business offering financial services.

A rehearing is scheduled for May 24. If the court upholds their decision to get rid of the “for cause” provision, President Trump can dismiss the CFPB’s current director, Richard Cordray. Trump could then replace Cordray with a director he deems more business friendly.

Consistent in its inconsistency

Regardless of who takes the director role, the financial services industry should be open to both the pros and cons of allowing the CFPB’s director to be replaced at will by the president.

A business friendly director appointed by one president, can just as easily be replaced by the next administration.Click To Tweet

The cost of an inconsistent CFPB can’t be overlooked in the push to reform the troubled agency.

#CFPB

Staff Writer, Arra Dacquel is a San Francisco based writer. She has a bachelor’s degree in political science from UC Davis and is currently studying web development. She’s obsessed with tech news and corgis, but not in that order.

Business News

Former Budweiser exec says marijuana is the new craft beer

(BUSINESS NEWS) In light of a growing consumer demand and more states decriminalizing and legalizing, “Big Booze” casts sights on burgeoning marijuana market.

Published

on

cannabis marijuana weed smoking

Imagine all the Instagram photos. Imagine all those new hashtags (no pun intended).

A carefully placed pre-rolled joint next to a latte with a heart drawn in the foam, an iridescent glass pipe freshly filled held out at arm’s length with a mountain and a sunset at the horizon, and different strains or arrays of edibles displayed next to their branded packaging.

Weed: “It’s the new craft beer,” according to former marketing exec for Anheuser-Busch, makers of Budweiser beer, Chris Burggraeve.

Since leaving his position as Chief Marketing Officer, Burggraeve has begun investing in the marijuana industry, recently joining the advisory board of greenRush Group, the San Francisco-based startup that aims to be the “Amazon of weed” as the largest technology platform in the cannabis industry.

In addition to greenRush, Burggraeve also co-founded Toast, a company that makes luxury pre-rolled joints.

Research firm Cowen and Company released their findings last year that in legalized states such as Washington, Colorado, and Oregon, people have begun laying off the sauce as beer sales took a noticeable dip below the national average. According to a Gallup poll released last month, 64 percent of the U.S. population now wants to lift the federal ban on marijuana.

It was only a matter of time before those in the alcohol industry began to take notice. Just last month, Constellation Brands, the beer distributor who owns Corona and Svedka vodka, bought a 9.9 percent stake in Canopy Growth Corporation, an acquisition in anticipation of nationwide legalization of marijuana in the U.S.

Big companies like Amazon, however, have shied away from taking such leaps in the industry due to the current federal ban.

“This is one of the fastest-growing categories globally,” Burggraeve told Bloomberg. “When consumers want something, you ignore it at your peril,” also noting that in order for booze companies to stay relevant in some fashion, they will have to conform to cannabis, whether they want to or not.

“The same way that craft beer started and, for the longest time, was ignored and then exploded, there’s no reason why the same thing wouldn’t happen in this space,” Burggraeve added, also noting that his colleagues should follow suit lest be left in the dust. “There will be part supplementing and part complementing. The jury is out on how and where that will happen.”

Continue Reading

Business News

FCC nixed a 40+ year old rule blocking broadcast media mergers

(BUSINESS NEWS) The FCC is on a tear this month, this time dismantling a decades-old rule that supporters and critics are butting heads over.

Published

on

ajit pai net neutrality

In a 3-to-2 vote last week, the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) rolled back media merger rules that have been around since the 1970s. These 42-year-old regulations prevented a handful of companies from owning the majority of media outlets in a market.

One now defunct rule stipulated TV stations in the same market couldn’t merge if the combo would mean there were fewer than eight independently owned stations as a result. Another rule prohibited a single company in a market from simultaneously owning a TV station and a daily newspaper.

Additionally, the original stipulations restricted how many TV and radio stations a company could own in a single media market. The FCC also approved Next Gen TV, a new broadcast standard expected to improve targeted ads as well as higher quality video and audio for on-air television.

Further easing media creation, last month, the FCC voted to nix a rule that required broadcasters to have a physical studio in their licensed market.

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai says these long-standing rules have made it difficult for smaller outlets like websites, blogs, and podcasts to thrive in a media landscape vastly different from the one that originated the regulations.

“Few of the FCC’s rules are staler than our broadcast ownership regulations,” Pai said. By eliminating them, he said, “this agency finally drags its broadcast ownership rules to the digital age.”

The National Association of Broadcasters agreed with Pai, welcoming the changes. In a statement they noted the old rules “weakened the newspaper industry, cost journalism jobs and forced local broadcast stations onto unequal footing with our national pay-TV and radio competitors.”

However, opponents argue this change will lead to media monoliths, with even fewer companies controlling most media outlets. “Instead of engaging in thoughtful reform,” said Democratic FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel, “this agency sets its most basic values on fire.”

Predictably, shortly after the vote, Comcast hit up 21st Century Fox all like, “Hey let us buy those parts of your company Disney wanted earlier this year but now we can have it because the FCC said so, I hope.” Previously Fox was talking about selling most of the company to Disney but keeping sports and news. Although the talks aren’t ongoing, apparently there may still be a Disney/Fox deal on the table. Verizon also noted interest in acquiring portions of Fox as well to provide mobile streaming content.

Senate Democrats called on the FCC inspector general to launch a probe regarding impartiality of the vote.

They cited concerns about how the deregulation may benefit conservative broadcasting company Sinclair, who expressed interest in buying Tribune Media for $3.9 billion dollars. This purchase could now be possible without Sinclair selling off their other stations to receive FCC approval.

“This merger would never have been possible without a series of actions to overturn decades-long, settled legal precedent by Chairman Pai,” wrote 14 lawmakers in a letter. Sinclair declined to comment, while Pai merely assured these changes “will open the door to pro-competitive combinations that will strengthen local voices.”

Guess we’ll just have to see how things go when Disney and like three other companies own everything.

Continue Reading

Business News

Apple under fire for alleged patent infringement

(BUSINESS NEWS) Apple is again under fire for patent infringement, this one appearing to be less patent-trolly than some other claims.

Published

on

apple iphone verizon social media

Apple is once again being investigated by the U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) for a possible patent infringement.

The investigation is looking into a complaint from Aqua Connect Inc and its subsidiary, Strategic Technology Partners. They are Nevada-based companies with headquarters in Orange, California, filing their complaint with the US District Court for the Central District of California.

Apple is already being investigated by USITC because Qualcomm claims that the company is using in violation of its patent by using Qualcomm’s modems to power devices like iPhones.

Earlier this month, Apple was also sued by an Israeli company, Corephotonics, which claims that the tech giant has used its patented designs in the dual lens cameras on iPhone 7 Plus and iPhone 8 Plus.

Likewise, Aqua Connect and Strategic Technology Partners claim that the company is using their patented technology without consent for features like screen-sharing and remote desktop on some MAC computers, iPhones, iPads, iPods, and Apple TVs.

It appears that the USITC investigation will look into these claims, but may take a broader view and look into other possible patent infringements.

“Initially, our product had Apple’s full support. But years later, [they] built our technology into its macOS and iOS operating systems without our permission,” says Ronnie Exley, CEO of Aqua Connect.

Apparently, Aqua Connect created the first remote desktop for Mac computers in 2008, but later they incorporated that technology into new products without permission from Aqua Connect. “These lawsuits seek to stop Apple from continuing to use our technology in their macOS and iOS operating systems,” said Exley in a statement.

Because the USITC has the power to ban the sale of products in the U.S., most companies choose to settle out of court rather than risk such a ban. It remains to be seen how Apple will ultimately respond.

Continue Reading
Advertisement

The
American Genius
News neatly in your inbox

Join thousands of AG fans and SUBSCRIBE to get business and tech news updates, breaking stories, and MORE!

Emerging Stories