Consumer watchdog agency asks court to reconsider ruling

WASHINGTON – The government’s consumer finance watchdog is asking a federal appeals court to reconsider its ruling that said the agency’s structure is unconstitutional.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau on Friday called the 2-1 ruling last month “dramatic and unprecedented.” It said the decision overrides Congress’ goal to create an independent agency that protects consumers from harmful banking and lending practices.

The law creating the agency after the 2008-09 financial crisis says its director can only be removed “for cause,” such as neglect of duty, and not over political differences. But the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit said that conflicts with the Constitution, which allows the president to remove executives for any reason.

The banking industry and Republicans in Congress have fiercely opposed the agency.