The C.E.O. Silence on the Jan. 6 Hearings

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The Chamber of Commerce is targeting Rohit Chopra, the director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, in a public campaign, accusing him of trying to “radically reshape” the financial services industry.

As part of the campaign, which began yesterday, the trade group shelled out six figures for advertisements seeking to “rein in” an “out-of-control” Chopra. The group also filed six requests for records of communications between Chopra’s agency and the White House, and it sent two letters to the consumer bureau detailing what the Chamber called “imprudent and unlawful actions.” (One letter lays out the group’s objection to the agency’s policy tweak on examining financial institutions for discriminatory practices.)

A spokeswoman for the agency told DealBook: “Scare tactics orchestrated by lobbyists for Big Tech and Wall Street won’t deter the work of the C.F.P.B. to enforce the law.” She added: “Less than a year in, our approach is already paying dividends, with significant changes in bank overdraft policies and major reforms in the reporting of medical debt to consumer credit reports.”

The trade group’s move reflects growing fears in some Washington circles that Chopra has amassed too much influence since taking up the post in October. The Chamber’s chief policy officer, Neil Bradley, told DealBook in an email that Chopra’s efforts would “upend the financial service system” and that the group was hoping for “congressional oversight.”

The right has accused Chopra of unfair maneuvering, and the left has hailed him as a hero of the people. During a hearing in April, Patrick Toomey of Pennsylvania, the top Republican on the Senate Banking Committee, said the consumer agency had abused its power under Chopra. (Toomey did not respond to a request for comment on the Chamber’s campaign.) Separately, the American Economic Liberties Project, a progressive competition policy group, said in a statement yesterday that Chopra was “​​a cleareyed fighter for workers, small businesses and local communities,” and that corporate lobbyists were trying to discredit him with “a targeted smear campaign.”

The director was once warmly welcomed by Republicans. In 2018, senators unanimously confirmed Chopra after Donald Trump nominated him to the Federal Trade Commission. Lawmakers knew Chopra from his previous roles at the C.F.P.B. and the Education Department, and Republicans did not then object to the appointment of a protégé of their progressive colleague, Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts. But at the F.T.C., Chopra’s tactics and approaches quickly drew ire from the right, and by last year, when he was Biden’s pick for C.F.P.B. director, 48 Republicans opposed him and two did not vote.

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