Revolt Against Racial Auto Profiling

To Team Obama, if your name is ‘Johnson’ you must be black.

The progressive left hasn’t suffered many defeats in the Obama era, so the occasional setback for the cause of bigger and unlawful government is worth celebrating. Last week we told you about House Democrats preparing to rebel against an egregious abuse by Obama Administration regulators. The rebellion succeeded, and the result is that a veto-proof House majority has rebuked the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

By a vote of 332-96, lawmakers voted to roll back the bureau’s campaign to prevent car dealers from negotiating rates on auto loans.

The feds have been justifying their power grab—and extracting settlements from the banks that provide auto financing—by claiming that dealers are discriminating against minority borrowers. But the bureau isn’t presenting actual victims who have suffered harm. The regulators are simply guessing the race of borrowers based on their last names and addresses in the loan files and then claiming racism if the people they guessed were minorities seemed to be paying higher rates.

We’ve been raising questions for years about the analysis behind the bureau’s war on car dealers. And since we explained the bureau’s racial guessing game last spring, it’s nice to see other media have discovered the story.

Democrats like Rep. David Scott (D., Ga.) had questions too and decided the bureau did not have good answers. At a recent congressional hearing he said the bureau’s work on this issue was based on “shamefully flawed” and “inaccurate” information. Rep. Scott told the bureau’s director, Richard Cordray, that “it was downright insulting to African Americans because you just assume their last name was Johnson or Williams or Robinson or maybe even Scott.”

In case Mr. Cordray didn’t get the point, and he usually pretends not to, the Georgia Democrat added that “you directed an extraordinary and deceitful approach that harms some of the very people that you’re trying to help. You got hundreds of auto dealers that are African Americans.” Mr. Scott also noted that the 2010 Dodd-Frank law explicitly prevented the bureau from regulating car dealers. Yet Mr. Cordray did it anyway—without a formal rule-making, cost-benefit analysis, or the ability for the public to comment.

Going into the vote, 65 Democrats had co-sponsored the measure to rescind the bureau’s auto-loan policy. When it hit the House floor on Wednesday, 88 Democrats voted to rein in what is arguably Washington’s least accountable bureaucracy. Not a single Republican sided with the bureau.

This kind of legislative drubbing invites prompt Senate action. Amazingly, this sensible measure doesn’t have a companion bill in the Senate, but Majority Leader Mitch McConnell should demand its inclusion in one of the must-pass bills that will move before the end of this year.

WSJ Article Nov 23 2015 

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