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‘Fraudulent Comments’ on Community Reinvestment Act Worry Maxine Waters

Congresswoman Maxine Waters, Chairwoman of the House Financial Services Committee, sent letters to the Comptroller of the Currency and the Chairman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, requesting information on the systems and policies for the Community Reinvestment Act rulemaking process. 

“The Committee is concerned by reports alleging that certain special interest groups have submitted comments in other rulemakings while posing as consumers, small business owners, and other stakeholders,” Water wrote. “These fraudulent comments undermine legitimate debate on proposed rules by creating the false appearance that a position has widespread, grassroot support. …Given the critical importance of CRA to low- and moderate-income communities, the Committee is interested in ensuring any amendments to the CRA are made with full and accurate input from all interested parties.”

The House Financial Services Committee said as the OCC and the FDIC have advanced proposals has the Community Reinvestment Act is implemented. The release states Waters and Committee Democrats have worked to ensure that the implementation of the law is not weakened. 

The Committee is concerned by reports alleging that certain special interest groups have submitted comments in other rulemakings while posing as consumers, small business owners, and other stakeholders,” Waters said in her letter. “These fraudulent comments undermine legitimate debate on proposed rules by creating the false appearance that a position has widespread, grassroots support. Such misrepresentations have been increasing in frequency and complexity in recent years.” 

Waters said in late 2019 that the Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Jay Clayton quoted comments that were submitted under “suspicious circumstances” in a recent rulemaking. 

“In 2016, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s efforts to receive comments regarding its payday lending rule were frustrated by an influx of over a million comments, many of which were allegedly created by trade groups to appear as if they came from concerned consumers,” she said. 

The Financial Services Committee will hold a hearing on January 29 titled, “The Community Reinvestment Act: Is the OCC Undermining the Law’s Purpose and Intent?”

On December 19, 2019, the IRS published final regulations on Opportunity Zones. In a commentary on Bloomberg Tax, Forest David Milder partner in the law firm Nixon Peabody, LLP, discusses the highlights of the 544-page regulation publication.

Key details Milder notes include the 180-day investing period, the “100% Substantial Improvement Rule,” and tax consequences of sales after 10 years, which Milder notes is the “biggest change of all.”

About Author: Mike Albanese

A graduate of the University of Alabama, Mike Albanese has worked for news publications since 2011 in Texas and Colorado. He has built a portfolio of more than 1,000 articles, covering city government, police and crime, business, sports, and is experienced in crafting engaging features and enterprise pieces. He spent time as the sports editor for the "Pilot Point Post-Signal," and has covered the DFW Metroplex for several years. He has also assisted with sports coverage and editing duties with the "Dallas Morning News" and "Denton Record-Chronicle" over the past several years.
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