November 4, 2009 - The House Financial Services Committee marked up and voted on the Consumer Financial Protection Act (H.R. 3126) in late October. Roll call votes on the bill were largely along party lines, with the exception of Amendment #24, sponsored by Rep. John Campbell [R-CA] and Rep. Bill Posey [R-FL], where 19 Democrats broke party lines to vote with 28 Republicans to exclude auto dealers from oversight by the proposed Consumer Financial Protection Agency (CFPA). The 19 Democrats voting with auto dealers on this amendment received an average of $7,112 from auto dealers over the past two years, 119% more than the average of $3,252 received by 21 Democrats voting to include auto dealers within the oversight of the proposed CFPA.
The Consumer Financial Protection Act was first proposed by Elizabeth Warren in 2007. If enacted into law, it would, according to Ellen Harnick--Senior Policy Counsel at the Center for Responsible Lending--establish a new federal agency that would:
"consolidate and streamline existing consumer oversight authority now scattered across several agencies and, by and large, ignored."
The CFPA is one of several bills under discussion that would reform regulation of the financial services industry and is the legislation that the financial services industry has been fighting the hardest. The bills on financial regulation reform aren't expected to make it to the House floor until December; the CFPA bill is expected to be weakened further in the Senate.
The National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) strongly supported the Campbell Amendment, as did the National Independent Automobile Dealers Association (NAIDA). NADA's main argument is that this bill:
"could produce uncertainty in the automobile marketplace and limit consumer financing options, leading to a lack of competition and increased consumer costs."
Consumer groups have lobbied against the Campbell amendment, arguing that:
"predatory auto lending costs consumers billions. Those dollars could have been spent to purchase newer, safer, more fuel-efficient vehicles and lifesaving safety systems such as side air bags and electronic stability control, creating more manufacturing jobs and saving lives, rather than being squandered on excessive interest payments."
Common Cause and Public Campaign have reported that Rep. Campbell received between $600,000 and $6,000,000 in rent last year from auto dealers. Campbell recused himself from a vote related to the auto industry bailout last year, stating at that time that being a landlord for auto dealers was a conflict of interest.
|Campaign Contributions from Auto Dealer Special Interests to Democratic Members of House Financial Services Committee|
|Bean, Melissa||D||IL-8||Not Voting||$7,500|
|Kilroy, Mary Jo||D||OH-15||Yes||$750|
|Miller, Brad||D||NC-13||Not Voting||$0|
|Average received by the 19 House Democrats voting "Yes"||$7,112|
|Average received by the 21 House Democrats voting "No"||$3,252|
|Average received by the 2 House Democrats not voting||$3,750|
Campaign contributions data provided by the Center for Responsive Politics' OpenSecrets Open Data. Date range of contributions is the two years preceding the last date for which OpenSecrets.org Open Data provides contributions: August 13, 2007 - August 12, 2009. The text of the Campbell/Posey Amendment (#24) and the record of the vote on amendment vote (FC-64) is on the House Financial Services Committee website.