Your Weekly Report on the Discord from Washington, D.C.
In Partnership with the Eris Group
– Yogi Berra
Baseball’s over in the District of Columbia for another year. If you’re still rooting for a team in the playoffs, all we can say is that you’re lucky to be watching something other than cable news. Is it November yet?
CFPB Structure Declared Unconstitutional, PHH Order Vacated – In a 110-page opinion released last Tuesday, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia ruled that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) cannot be an independent agency if it is headed by a single director, and is therefore an executive agency under the direct authority of the President. “That combination of power that is massive in scope, concentrated in a single person, and unaccountable to the President” triggers a constitutional review, the Court said, in finding the current structure unconstitutional. Rather than shut down the Bureau, however, the Court ruled that it could continue to operate as an executive agency, with the President empowered to supervise, direct and remove its head. Given this change of status, the Court granted PHH Corporation’s petition for review of an order that fined the company $109 million, and remanded the case to the CFPB. Senate Banking Committee Chairman Richard Shelby (R-AL) called the decision “meaningless without a President who is willing to rein in the unmatched authority of the CFPB’s Director.”
Warren Demands Replacement for White at SEC – Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) wrote to President Obama last week to ask him to use his unilateral authority to remove Mary Jo White as chair of the Securities and Exchange Commission and designate another Commissioner as chair. The President does not have unilateral authority to remove Chair White from the Commission, but can appoint a new chair without Senate approval. Senator Warren called for the change in response to what she called Chair White’s “brazen” refusal to develop a political spending disclosure rule “despite unprecedented and overwhelming investor and public support for such a rule.” She said that this refusal was “merely the most recent and prominent example” of Chair White’s setting corporate interests above those of investors, undermining the SEC’s mission.
CFPB Finalizes Rule on Prepaid Accounts – Two weeks ago the CFPB published a final rule on prepaid card accounts, which imposes new disclosure requirements and loss limits, and generally applies credit-card type protections to prepaid cards that have overdraft features. The new rule requires issuers of prepaid cards that have overdraft features to consider the customer’s ability to repay before issuing these cards or increasing a credit line. It requires a 30-day waiting period before a card issuer can offer consumers a credit feature, and prohibits issuers from automatically seizing funds as credit repayment when a customer reloads the card. Most provisions of the new rule will take effect on October 1, 2017.
SEC Adopts Final Rules on Disclosure, Liquidity Risk Management – Last Thursday the Securities and Exchange Commission finalized new rules to update and enhance reporting requirements for registered investment companies, and to require mutual funds and other open-end management investment companies to establish liquidity risk management programs. The new disclosure requirements involve the use of new forms after June 1, 2018 (for larger firms) or June 1, 2019 (for smaller firms). Liquidity risk management programs must be in place by December 1, 2018 for larger firms, and by June 1, 2019 for smaller firms.
G-7 Countries Agree on Best Practices in Cybersecurity for Financial Sector – The Treasury and the Federal Reserve both praised the Group of 7’s “Fundamental Elements of Cybersecurity for the Financial Sector,” published earlier last week. The three-page document identifies eight elements of a strategy and framework for cybersecurity, laying out broad guidelines rather than specific recommendations. “Entity-specific, as well as sector-wide, cybersecurity strategies and frameworks need periodic review and update to adapt to changes in the threat and control environment, enhance user awareness, and to effectively deploy resources,” the statement noted.
Coming up in Washington (and elsewhere):
The FDIC Advisory Committee on Economic Inclusion will meet to discuss the results of the agency’s National Survey of Unbanked and Underbanked Households, which will be released that day. The committee will also discuss expanding access to safe transaction accounts and results of the FDIC’s Youth Savings Pilot Program. The meeting will be open to the public and webcast live. 9:00 a.m., 550 17th Street NW, Washington, DC.
The Ellis Insight. Jim Ellis reports on upcoming races:
Polling predictably trended downward for Donald Trump after the videotape story two weeks ago dominated the national news, peppered with umpteen Republican office holders retracting their endorsements, and some asking him to withdraw from the race.
Six polls were conducted last week from Ipsos/Reuters, NBC/Wall Street Journal, Politico/Morning Consult, Insights West, Rasmussen Reports, and Fox News. Aside from Rasmussen that surprisingly projected Trump with a two-point lead, the others found Hillary Clinton ahead between five and nine points.
The state count is even stronger for Clinton. The three critical states of Florida, Ohio, and North Carolina, all places that Trump must win to have any chance of constructing a national winning coalition, now have turned for Clinton. In each, she has leads between two and four points, though the latest Ohio NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Marist College survey (10/10-12; 724 OH likely voters) does find Trump re-assuming a one-point edge in that state.
In addition to Florida, Ohio, and North Carolina, Trump must win several other states in order to reach 270 electoral votes. Iowa, where he still leads, and Nevada are the next two most reasonable options. Beyond that, however, it is difficult to see where he gets that last final state to put him over the top. Therefore, chances are very strong that Ms. Clinton wins this election.
Iowa: The new Des Moines Register/Selzer & Company poll (10/3-6; 642 IA likely voters) finds Sen. Chuck Grassley (R) continuing to pull away from former Lt. Gov. Patty Judge (D), and probably for good. The new survey posts the veteran Senator to a 53-36% lead over his Democratic opponent, stabilizing his high double-digit lead established in September.
Missouri: The new Monmouth University survey (10/9-11; 406 MO likely voters) is showing movement for Democratic Senate nominee Jason Kander in his battle with incumbent Sen. Roy Blunt (R). According to this data, the Blunt edge is down to 46-44%, as negative advertising against the incumbent is having an impact. The underlying numbers in the presidential and open Governor’s races are better for the GOP, suggesting that Blunt’s advantage is probably slightly better than the data indicates.
North Carolina: Three independent polls taken over the exact same days (10/10-12) find Sen. Richard Burr (R) gaining political strength. After a few recent polls found Democrat Deborah Ross forging a small lead, Burr has significantly rebounded. According to NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Marist College (742 NC likely voters), the Burr-Ross race is tied. Both the Emerson College Polling Society (600 NC likely voters) and Suffolk University (500 NC likely voters) report more favorable data for Sen. Burr. They find him leading Ross by two and four points, respectively.
Pennsylvania: The week’s three surveys in this seesaw race has something for everyone. CBS News/YouGov (10/5-7; 997 PA likely voters) began the polling series and projected a tie between Sen. Pat Toomey (R) and Democratic nominee Katie McGinty (42-42%). Susquehanna Polling & Research (10/4-9; 764 PA likely voters) found Sen. Toomey leading 42-38%. Finally, Bloomberg Politics (10/7-11; 806 PA likely voters) posted McGinty to a two-point lead, 47-45%. The progression is actually good news for Sen. Toomey who had been running behind or tied in three of the last four polls prior to this current study grouping.
Wisconsin: The Marquette University Law School poll (10/6-9; 878 WI likely voters) is now the third consecutive survey concluding that Sen. Ron Johnson (R) is storming back in his marathon race against ex-Senator Russ Feingold (D), the man the former unseated in 2010. According to Marquette, Feingold’s lead is 48-46%, down from their 47-41% split in mid-September. CBS News/YouGov (10/5-7; 993 WI likely voters) found a similar 45-42% Feingold margin. At the beginning of the period, Loras College (10/4-5; 500 WI likely voters) initiated the trend by projecting Johnson to a lead of 45-40%, the first such poll of the contest that has lasted 18 active months. The Marquette data may be most significant of the group because they still produce Johnson momentum even after the Donald Trump videotape became public.
AK-AL: Democrats believe they have some chance of unseating 43-year congressional veteran Don Young (R-Ft. Yukon) in the person of former Alaska Public Media CEO Steve Lindbeck (D). Alaska Survey Research, polling for the Alaska Dispatch News (9/28-10/2; 660 AL registered voters), negates such an argument, however. According to this poll, Rep. Young enjoys a 44-30% advantage.
CA-7: An internal Scott Jones for Congress poll (Public Opinion Strategies; 10/1-6; 400 CA-7 likely voters) now finds the Republican challenger moving ahead of two-term Rep. Ami Bera (D-Elk Grove/Sacramento). According to the latest data, Jones has forged into a 47-42% lead in the politically marginal district. Rep. Bera has won two close victories, the last one (2014) a race that proved to be the most expensive congressional race in the whole country (combined spending over $10 million, not including outside organizations).
CA-49: After seeing two polls published that projected challenger Doug Applegate (D) to a lead, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Vista) responded by releasing his own Public Opinion Strategies survey (10/4-6; 400 CA-49 likely voters). According to this poll, Rep. Issa holds a 48-39% advantage. This is certainly a race to watch come Election Day.
FL-13: Yet further conflicting signals are coming from the Tampa Bay area. Both Rep. David Jolly (R) and former Gov. Charlie Crist (D) have been releasing polls showing them leading in the race for the newly-drawn 13th District that now includes heavily Democratic St. Petersburg. The independent local automated polling firm, St. Pete Polls, has released their latest. Their September poll gave Jolly a three point lead, but the new data (10/10; 1,280 FL-13 likely voters) finds ex-Gov. Crist back in front, 48-43%. The University of Northern Florida’s Public Opinion Research Laboratory (10/9-11; 611 FL-13 registered voters) sees a much district result, one that puts Crist in the driver’s seat. According to UNF, Mr. Crist holds a whopping 54-36% lead. The 13th has been re-drawn as a Democratic district, but Rep. Jolly is regarded as having a fighting chance to hold, at least before the UNF poll was published. His well-known feud with the National Republican Congressional Committee has resulted in him getting no party support, but that will likely change at the end if the seat appears winnable for the Republican.
IL-10: North Star Opinion Research (10/8-11; 400 IL-10 registered voters) surveyed the northern Chicago suburban district last week. Despite Donald Trump trailing Hillary Clinton in this district 31-53%, and possessing a miserable 28:64% favorability index, Rep. Bob Dold (R-Kenilworth), who lost to Democrat Brad Schneider in 2012 before re-gaining the seat in 2014, leads the former Congressman 50-43%. The 10th is one of the nation’s most Democratic seats that a Republican represents.
IA-1: Rep. Rod Blum (R-Dubuque) won this heavily Democratic seat in an upset two years ago. It was thought he would not be able to hold during a high turnout presidential year. Poll after poll, however, posts him to a lead over Cedar Rapids City Councilwoman Monica Vernon (D). Now, a Democratic study from Lake Research Partners (9/30-10/3; 439 IA-1 likely voters) also finds Rep. Blum leading the race. According to this most recent survey, Blum holds a slight 48-46% edge over Vernon.
KS-3: Democrats have been high on businessman Jay Sidie’s (D) chances against three-term Rep. Kevin Yoder (R-Overland Park) in a district that Democrats held for ten years prior to the current GOP incumbent winning in 2010. Now the Democratic establishment is putting their money behind the talk. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is reserving $1 million of television airtime for the remainder of the campaign to back Sidie’s effort.
MN-2: Though the 2nd District has been in Republican hands for fourteen years, the 2011 redistricting version of this seat is politically marginal. It appears Democratic analysts, and some Republicans, have been virtually conceding this seat to healthcare executive Angie Craig (D) because most regard radio talk show host Jason Lewis (R) as too conservative for the district. Still, a new Wilson Perkins Allen Research survey continues to post Lewis with a consistent lead. According to their 10/9-10 survey (400 MN-2 likely voters), the Republican is clinging to a 36-33% lead. His 36-24% spread among Independent voters is key to helping him maintain an advantage. MN-2 is a must-win for Democrats if they are to make any serious run at the GOP majority.
Missouri: The aforementioned Monmouth University poll (see Missouri Senate above) finds the open gubernatorial contest getting much tighter. While previously leading 51-40% in August, Attorney General Chris Koster’s (D) edge over former Navy SEAL Eric Greitens is now only a scant 46-43%. Later in the week, the Remington Research Group, a Republican firm polling for the Missouri Times, tested the Governor’s race (10/9-11; 2,127 MO likely voters via automated device) and also found Greitens to be gaining, but not as strongly as the Monmouth poll. According to Remington, Koster’s lead is 48-42%. Despite the Trump videotape revelation, the Governor’s race is still growing momentum for the Republican candidate. In the Remington survey, the GOP presidential candidate leads Hillary Clinton, 47-42%, while Monmouth finds Trump up by an almost identical 46-41%. The outcome of this gubernatorial contest is no longer a foregone conclusion.
North Carolina: The NC Governor’s race has clearly turned toward Democratic challenger Roy Cooper, the state’s Attorney General. From October 2-6, four polls were released, from Bloomberg Politics, Quinnipiac University, Survey USA, and High Point University. All find Cooper leading Gov. Pat McCrory by two to seven points, with the Democrat reaching 48-50% in all four surveys.
Washington: Strategies 360, polling for Seattle television station KOMO, (9/29-10/3; 500 WA likely voters) projects Gov. Jay Inslee (D) to be leading Seattle Port Commissioner Bill Bryant (R), 50-40%. Only one previous poll had been released in this race during the past three months. That came in August (The Elway Poll) and found a similar 48-36% Inslee advantage.