Today, in his column “Government’s Not Dead Yet,” Joe Nocera of the New York Times pays a visit to the PIRG-backed Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, where he finds vision, idealism and people working to show that “government can make a difference in people’s lives.”
U.S. PIRG backed the establishment of the bureau during the epic Wall Street reform battle as an opportunity to create a government agency as if people mattered. It is the first federal financial agency with only one job, protecting consumers. It is under fierce attack from big banks, credit bureaus and payday lenders, but as the story describes, director Rich Cordray, former Ohio Attorney General, is working hard to create an atmosphere that attracts young people who came to Washington to make a difference: “To corral their sense of idealism and put it in the service of improving life for the average consumer, that is a tremendous thing.” Of course, many others are working there, too. Former Minnesota Attorney General Skip Humphrey protects older Americans from financial scams and Holly Petraeus, wife of General David Petraeus, looks after military families. She concludes the column: “I think there are still idealists in Washington,” she said. “And they work in this building.”
Senior Director, Federal Consumer Program, U.S. PIRG Education Fund
Ed oversees U.S. PIRG’s federal consumer program, helping to lead national efforts to improve consumer credit reporting laws, identity theft protections, product safety regulations and more. Ed is co-founder and continuing leader of the coalition, Americans For Financial Reform, which fought for the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010, including as its centerpiece the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. He was awarded the Consumer Federation of America's Esther Peterson Consumer Service Award in 2006, Privacy International's Brandeis Award in 2003, and numerous annual "Top Lobbyist" awards from The Hill and other outlets. Ed lives in Virginia, and on weekends he enjoys biking with friends on the many local bicycle trails.