Blue Flower

Well, this is awkward.

Four witnesses on the "constitutionality" of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau sat before a House subcommittee on Tuesday morning, lending their expert knowledge to help sort through the current state of confusion around the bureau. 

The House Financial Services Committee’s Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations dubbed the hearing “The Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection’s Unconstitutional Design.”

But instead of providing their expertise on the CFPB and its constitutionality, the four witnesses were tossed around between House Republicans who profusely thanked them for coming and House Democrats who condemned the hearing entirely.  

Ted Olson, partner at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, fielded most of the questions, and attacks, since he is also lead counsel to PHH in its current case against the CFPB.

His role in the PHH case was also a major point of contention during the hearing. Rep. Al Green, D-Texas, used his entire time to emphasize the conflict of interest in Olson being there, even questioning the other witnesses to see what they thought about it.

They, however, didn’t have much of an opinion on it and mostly seemed frustrated about why they were even being questioned on it.

On the other hand, Republicans, like Rep. Scott R. Tipton, R-Co., used most of their time to ask Olson questions in order to prove their feelings about the constitutionality of the CFPB.

In a response to a question Tipton asked, Olson stated that that CFPB is very dangerous because it’s the very definition of tyranny.

“You have to have accountability. [The CFPB] is not accountable to you or the president. Who can control that agency? No one can control that agency,” he said.

Olson ended up continuously repeating this same concept in different phrases and wordings throughout the entire hearing.