Obama admin accused of shakedown, bullying bank into payouts over unproven ‘racial discrimination’

President Barack Obama delivers remarks at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in Washington, D.C., Jan. 6, 2012. CFPB Director Richard Cordray, left. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

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From BizPac: And liberals insist ACORN is no more.

The Obama administration is being accused of exaggerating charges of racial discrimination against Ally Bank and other defendants in the $900 billion car-lending business.

The effort is “part of a ‘racial justice‘ campaign that’s looking more like a massive government extortion and shakedown operation,” the New York Post reported Sunday.

At the center of the allegations are newly uncovered internal memos from Obama’s Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which has secured more than $220 million in settlements with auto lenders since the agency targeted the industry in 2013, according to the Post.

The Post reported:

A confidential 23-page internal report detailing CFPB’s strategy for going after lenders shows why these companies are forking over millions of dollars in restitution and fines to the government despite denying any wrongdoing.

The high-level memo, sent by top CFPB civil-rights prosecutors to the bureau’s director and revealed by a House committee, admits their methods for proving discrimination were seriously flawed from the start and had little chance of holding up in court. Yet they figured they could muscle Ally, as well as future defendants, with threats and intimidation.

“Some of the claims being made in this case present issues, such as use of [race] proxying and reliance on the disparate-impact doctrine, that would pose litigation risks meriting serious consideration prior to taking administrative action or filing suit in district court,” the Oct. 7, 2013, memo addressed to CFPB chief Richard Cordray acknowledges.

 

Despite the realization that their “methods for proving discrimination were seriously flawed,” the agency pushed on — likely knowing how damaging the race card is when played against corporations.

“Nevertheless, Ally may have a powerful incentive to settle the entire matter quickly without engaging in protracted litigation,” the memo stated.

Of course, anyone who has been paying attention over the years will see the trademark tactics employed by ACORN community organizers — where Barack Obama cut his teeth in political activism — in the lead up to the housing bubble.

The now-defunct Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now was famous for shaking down banks to extend high-risk loans in low income communities.

The Wall Street Journal reported in November 2009 the “bubble was the result of government policies that lowered mortgage-lending standards to increase home ownership,” noting “one of the key players was the controversial liberal advocacy group, ACORN.”

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau seems to be following suit, the Post reported:

So CFPB applied the screws to Ally, saying it had “statistical evidence” showing its participating dealers were “marking up” loan prices for blacks and Hispanics vs. whites (by an average of $3 a month). Ally fought back, insisting non-discriminatory factors, such as credit history, down payments, trade-ins, promotions and rate-shopping, explained differences in loan pricing.

 

But the bureau’s tactics worked, as Ally cut a deal that included a $98 million payout.

A deal that came four days before Ally’s holding-company status was set to expire — the company’s request to the Federal Reserve to remain a financial holding company was approved three days later.

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