Bad News for Mike’s Favorite Agency, Mendez Mistrial, Listener Mail

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Mike and Jay open by discussing what, for Mike, was crushing news – Consumer Financial Protection Bureau head Rob Cordray announced that he would be stepping down. Mike points out that since its creation as part of the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial reform legislation, the semi-independent CFPB has been a strong advocate for consumers. He laments that this this will largely cease under Trump-appointed leadership. Jay, like most Republicans, believes that the agency is too independent, needlessly harms financial institutions for the sake of powerful Democratic interests, and needs to be reined in.

Next, they talk about the mistrial recently announced in the federal corruption trial of Democratic New Jersey Senator Robert Menendez. Had Menendez been convicted, outgoing governor Chris Christie may have been able to appoint a Republican to take Menendez’ place, giving the GOP another much-needed seat to bolster their slim Senate majority. Both Mike and Jay seem to believe Menendez is guilty of, at the very least, unethical behavior, but they point out that it’s incredibly difficult to demonstrate quid-pro-quo corruption (e.g. Wealthy ‘friend’: “Here’s $5,000 in exchange for which I want you to vote ‘no’ on that bill” Senator: “Okay, thanks for the $5,000. I’ll be sure to vote ‘no’.”) especially in the wake of a unanimous 2016 Supreme Court decision.

Then it’s listener mail. Jay responds to a someone who is very disappointed in Jay’s Machiavellian take on politics, Mike and Jay answer a listener who wants some solid evidence that minorities in the United States are being systematically disadvantaged, and Mike and Jay reply to a listener who wonders how to productively engage people like Mike’s friend (and Trump supporter) Joe.

Mike’s interview with campaign finance reform advocate and Harvard professor Lawrence Lessig.

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