Judge who ruled against CFPB took thousands in Wall Street campaign cash: Watchdog

The federal judge who ruled this week that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's funding structure is unconstitutional was a longtime recipient of campaign cash from Wall Street bankers—including several whose banks were held accountable by the bureau for abusive practices—a government watchdog revealed Wednesday.

Accountable.US released an analysis of campaign contributions received by Judge Cory Wilson of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals between 2014 and 2018, when he was a Republican candidate and member of the Mississippi House of Representatives.

According to the group, Wilson took at least $10,500 from Wall Street bankers.

The analysis was released a day after Wilson handed down a ruling in a case filed by payday lending groups against the CFPB. The judge claimed in his decision that it is unconstitutional for the CFPB to be funded by the Federal Reserve System rather than by Congress, drawing condemnation from Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and other consumer advocates.

The case "shows just how far predatory lenders are willing to go to avert any accountability for their abusive practices," said Liz Zelnick, director of economic security and corporate power for Accountable.US. "It's no surprise this lawsuit was brought by an industry with an ax to grind against the CFPB after facing numerous fines mistreating consumers."

Beyond that, Zelnick added, the group's findings regarding Wilson's financial ties to the industry CFPB regulates shows the case "was advanced by a judge who's taken thousands from the banking industry that too is determined to weaken the bureau's authority."

As the Revolving Door Project at the Center for Economic and Policy Research noted, Wilson's contributions included at least $2,500 from Trustmark National Bank, which was recently fined by the CFPB for discriminatory practices.

"The financial services industry's relentless attacks on the CFPB proves its work protecting consumers is more vital than ever," said Zelnick.