A Republican-aligned opposition research group is set to accuse Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Richard Cordray of violating the Hatch Act by positioning himself for a run for governor of Ohio while in office.
America Rising Squared was expected to file a complaint with the Office of Special Counsel on Wednesday based on the rampant speculation that Cordray will leave office shortly to return to his home state to run as a Democrat.
The complaint will be the latest in a long line of GOP efforts to harass and diminish Cordray, who has run the consumer bureau since its beginning.
In recent months, the Republican efforts against Cordray have focused on the possibility that he will run for office in 2018. On Tuesday, the Republican Governors Association filed a Freedom of Information Act request to get documents from the bureau on Cordray's possible campaign activities to determine whether he ran afoul of the Hatch Act. The law prevents executive branch officials from engaging in certain political activities.
America Rising Squared executive director Brian Rogers said he hoped the Office of Special Counsel takes the complaint seriously and that "for Richard Cordray to use his perch at the CFPB to plot a run for governor violates his pledge to taxpayers and proves that the only thing he cares about is advancing his political career."
Although financial services lobbyists say they expect Cordray to leave his post to run for governor soon, there is no evidence yet that he has decided to do so.
The basis of America Rising Squared's complaint is that an Ohio Supreme Court justice told a public radio station that a "mutual friend" of his and Cordray's had called to inquire whether he would stay out of the race if Cordray ran.
According to local media, an AFL-CIO official reported speaking to Cordray about appearing at a Cincinnati union Labor Day picnic. While some guess that Cordray might announce a run at the event, the union official said they didn't discuss the governor's race.
A spokesman for the CFPB did not respond to a request for comment.
America Rising Squared also argued that Cordray has traveled to Columbus two dozen times since the Republican victories in the 2016 elections. Cordray has said, however, that he commutes to Washington from his home Grove City, just outside Columbus, because he has children in high school.