The Department of Justice's Office of Legal Counsel recently defended President Obama's recess appointments, but many questions still surround the constitutionality of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and its director's powers.
In the memo, the Department of Justice argued that pro forma sessions held in the Senate do not constitute a functioning legislative body that can advise and consent to presidential appointments, TheHill.com reports.
Critics have argued that the president abused his executive power of recess appointments – the right of the president to appoint nominees to government positions while the Senate is in recess. The Jan. 6 memo, however, said that the president acted within the scope of the law.
Obama used his power of recess appointments to install Richard Cordray as director of the CFPB and three other individuals to the National Labor Board earlier this month.
The real issue that most critics have with the appointments is primarily who was appointed rather than how they were appointed.
Cordray has unchecked power, TheHill.com reports, as Cordray is not required to report or be accountable to any other government entity, including the president.
Provisions within the Dodd-Frank also specify that funds appointed to the CFPB are not subject to any kind of review or oversight, a frightening and disappointing prospect for many.
Cordray's appointment raises questions surrounding the constitutionality of the bureau's powers and privileges.
The only agency with the power to restrain the CFPB, the Financial Stability Oversight Council, can only do so if actions by the bureau "put the safety and soundness of the United States banking system or the stability of the financial system of the United States at risk," according to TheHill.com.