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House Democrats call for investigation into anti-CFPB group

By Jon Prior

Three top Democratic members of the House Financial Services Committee are asking the Federal Trade Commission to investigate a nonprofit group for using their quotes out of context to criticize the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Reps. Maxine Waters, Keith Ellison, and Al Green wrote in a letter to the FTC today that Internet and TV ads from Protect America's Consumers may have violated federal regulations that ban distorting opinions to make it seem like they were endorsing the group. The lawmakers also raised questions about the group's nonprofit status.

Protect America's Consumers has criticized the bureau for its building renovations, employee pay and complaints of workplace discrimination. The group claims there is bipartisan support for reforming the agency, while using quotes from the lawmakers who say they were taken out of context. Waters, Ellison and Green have defended the CFPB, and they said in their letter that making changes to its structure is "a nakedly partisan" issue. Some other Democratic members have voted for bills to establish a commission at the bureau and limit its funding.

The lawmakers wrote that "if misleadingly-named, tax-sheltered, secretly-funded corporations" are allowed to use their quotes to deceive the public about their personal positions, it could have "a serious chilling effect" on discussions in Congress.

A spokesman for Protect America's Consumers did not reply to a request for comment.

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