Ohio Democrats Ask to See Josh Mandel's Work Schedule

WASHINGTON — The Ohio Democratic Party says that state Treasurer, Josh Mandel, a Republican, is spending too much time tending to political duties, short-changing the citizens.

Mandel, who now has served a year as treasurer, is running for U.S. Senate, hoping to unseat Democratic incumbent Sen. Sherrod Brown in November. But that requires time and money. So Mandel travels the country, from Hawaii to the East Coast, taking in millions for his Senate campaign and winning significant political endorsements.

2010 Lt. Gov. candidate Brown seeks to hold court seat

COLUMBUS — Ohio Supreme Court Justice Yvette McGee Brown will formally announce her candidacy for election Monday afternoon.

Justice Brown, the only Democrat on the seven-member high court, was appointed to a vacancy on the bench last year by then-Gov. Ted Strickland. She’s the sole African American on the bench and the first black woman to ever serve.

A former Franklin County juvenile court judge, Justice Brown headed the nonprofit Center for Family Advocacy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus before joining Mr. Strickland as his running mate in 2010.

No Democrat has been elected to the Supreme Court since now-retired Justice Alice Robie Resnick, of Ottawa Hills, won re-election in 2000.

Republicans hope to keep that streak going by replacing Judge Brown with Butler County Domestic Relations Judge Sharon Kennedy.

So far there are no primary election contests for the high court.

Republican Justices Terrence O’Donnell and Robert Cupp are seeking re-election. Barring any surprises, they face Democratic opposition from Hamilton County Municipal Judge Fanon A. Rucker and Youngstown area attorney Robert W. Price, respectively.

Former 11th District Court of Appeals Judge William O’Neill is fighting for a place on the Democratic ballot alongside Judge Rucker for Justice O’Donnell’s seat. Last week, Secretary of State Jon Husted determined that he failed to qualify for the ballot, coming up just seven signatures shy of the 1,000 needed.
The former judge is appealing that decision.


Ohio Supreme Court Justice Yvette McGee Brown kicks off election campaign

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Ohio Supreme Court Justice Yvette McGee Brown on Monday officially kicked off her election campaign with a short speech before a couple dozen family members and supporters at a Columbus YWCA meeting room.

Brown said she will campaign on her long professional and political career tied to helping juveniles and broken families and her belief that Ohio’s courts must contain elements of diversity to ensure fairness in the judicial system.

Brown is the only African-American and only Democrat among the seven Ohio justices. She will be challenged in November by Republican Sharon L. Kennedy.

“It’s important to have diversity among all our judges. Not just diversity in terms of race or gender or political party but diversity in terms of life experience,” Brown said, noting that her philosophy matches that of the highly respected late Ohio Chief Justice Thomas Moyer.

“Just because you come from a different party or a different perspective doesn’t mean you can’t get along,” Brown said. She noted that different perspectives have led to vehement professional disagreements between her and her colleagues during case deliberations but said they each have a great deal of respect for one another.

This will be Brown’s first statewide race as a solo candidate. Brown said she plans to campaign across the state while keeping up with the court’s full caseload, as is typical of judicial candidates. Incumbent justices Robert Cupp and Terrence O’Donnell are also up for re-election.

In 2010 Brown was former Democratic Gov. Ted Strickland’s running mate, but the pair lost that election. Still, Brown said she learned a lot from being part of a statewide ticket.

“I met so many people and families across our state who are living at the margins. . . They are looking for leaders who will stand up for them and they are willing to invest their hopes and dreams in such leaders,” she said.

Before he left office, Strickland appointed Brown in December 2010 to an unexpired term at the Supreme Court. Brown is now seeking to be elected to a full six-year term.

Brown, a Columbus native, is a former Franklin County Common Pleas judge. She also has private sector experience, helping to establish the Center for Child and Family Advocacy, which helps children who are victims of abuse and neglect.

REMARKS: Justice McGee Brown Formally Announces Campaign To Retain Ohio Supreme Court Seat

COLUMBUS – Today Justice Yvette McGee Brown formally announced her campaign to retain her seat on the Ohio Supreme Court. Justice McGee Brown, who has dedicated her life to advocating for children and families, joined the Ohio Supreme Court in January 2011, becoming the court’s first African American female justice.

View Justice McGee Brown’s campaign website here.

Download a press photo of Justice McGee Brown here (attributed to Ohio Democratic Party).

Her remarks, which were delivered today, follow:

Thank you for that very kind introduction. It’s so wonderful to be here today among so many friends and supporters.

For those few who don’t know me, let me share a bit of my story.

I was born here in Columbus, the oldest of three children of a single mother. She worked two jobs to support us – in a factory by day and cleaning office buildings by night. And she impressed on the three of us the importance of a good education.

I worked hard in school and was accepted to Ohio University in Athens. I made it through with financial aid, student loans and work-study programs.

After graduating, I won a full scholarship to the Ohio State University Law School. With my law degree in hand, I went to work in the Ohio Attorney General’s Office, where I represented the state Medical Board and the state Pharmacy Board. Among other things, I helped make sure that doctors and pharmacists in Ohio met their professional standards and obligations.

After two years, I became Chief Legal Counsel to the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections — and later, the Ohio Department of Youth Services. In both of these jobs, I took a particular interest in juvenile corrections. I saw many young Ohioans caught up in a cycle of abuse and neglect, and I determined that I wanted to do something about it.

So, at age 32, I decided to run for the Court of Common Pleas here in Franklin County. I was proud to be the first African-American woman elected to this bench.

As a Domestic Relations and Juvenile Court Judge, I handled thousands of domestic relations and juvenile cases — including juvenile felony and misdemeanor cases, child abuse and neglect, divorces, dissolutions and child support.

I think observers of my years on that court will tell you that I was a tough but fair judge. My philosophy was that, if you make a choice to engage in crime or violence, then you’ve chosen the consequences.

So I didn’t hesitate to hand down tough sentences. But I also made sure that everyone was treated fairly.

As a Judge, I was struck by the recurring cycle of abuse and neglect within families. So, after nine years on the bench, I left to pursue a more comprehensive approach to early intervention and prevention.

Working with Nationwide Children’s Hospital, I helped establish the Center for Child and Family Advocacy here in Columbus. In essence, we created a one-stop center to deal with child abuse and neglect. I helped raise 10 million dollars to build that facility, and then served as its first president.

Eventually, my scope of responsibility grew to encompass not only the Center, but also the Hospital’s behavioral health and autism services. By the time I left, I managed over 400 employees and a 30 million dollar annual budget.

Why did we need this unique facility in Ohio? Because a coordinated response from physicians, therapists, police, prosecutors and child welfare professionals improves outcomes for children and takes delay out of the system. It helps children recover and creates greater opportunity to hold perpetrators accountable.

Instead of sitting in an emergency room for 6-to-8 hours and having to tell their stories over and over, child abuse victims now have an experienced team around them. They tell their stories once, so they don’t have to continually relive their trauma.

Now, police, prosecutors and advocates can investigate cases together rather than separately – saving time and expense. We also offer prevention services for at risk families, early intervention for children zero to three, and domestic violence advocacy and support.

For the thousands of children and families caught up in these crimes, I know we have made a difference. And since we founded the Center for Child and Family Advocacy, another half-dozen centers have been created across Ohio.

Just as important as my professional life has been my family, [some of whom are here with me today]. I could never have taken on this work without their love and support. My husband has been a high school teacher for more then 35 years. We have three children – the youngest of whom is 14. And in January, I became a grandmother.

After eight years of exhausting but rewarding service with the Center, I was honored when Governor Strickland asked me to join his ticket in 2010 as the Democratic candidate for Lieutenant Governor.

Although we didn’t win that election, campaigning around our state was a tremendous experience. I was able to talk and interact with everyday Ohioans in a way that few people ever experience.

In doing so, I met so many people and families across our state who are living at the margins.

They have lost jobs and financial security, but they haven’t given up hope in themselves or in our country. They are looking for leaders who will stand up for them, and they are willing to invest their hopes and dreams in such leaders.

So after the election, when Governor Strickland asked me if I’d be willing to fill a vacancy on the Supreme Court, I thought of those people I had met along the campaign trail. I thought about the families and children I had served at the Child and Family Advocacy Center. I thought about the juveniles who had come before me as a judge. I thought about my own family and the struggles we had encountered.

I accepted the appointment, and I’m glad that I did. I believe that I have had a real impact, by bringing a life experience and a perspective to the High Court that might not otherwise be represented.

And that’s why, today, I am proud to announce that I am running to remain your Justice on the Ohio Supreme Court.

Our courts need to be the place where the scales of justice are balanced; where individual citizens have the same rights as the biggest corporations.

It may not always seem that way to the public, But I still think that our courts come the closest to upholding the basic American ideal that all men and women are created equal and have equal standing before the law.

That’s why it’s important to have diversity among our judges. Not just diversity in terms of race or gender or political party, but diversity in terms of life experience. Our late and beloved Chief Justice Thomas Moyer recognized this when he said: "The idea of a multiple-judge court certainly is that the process includes people of different backgrounds, different philosophies, different views on issues."

Now, just because you come from a different party or a different perspective doesn’t mean you can’t get along. We do. I listen closely to my colleagues on the Supreme Court and they listen to me. We have an honest and respectful exchange of views.

With all humility, I believe my colleagues value my Prior Experience on the Domestic Relations and Juvenile Bench and in the private sector.

After all, the law is about people.

The cases we decide and the precedents we set have real-life consequences for thousands of Ohioans and their families, Be it workers compensation, enforcement of contracts, health care, child welfare or domestic issues.

The courts are the place where individuals – no matter who they are, should expect to have their cases heard on equal footing. And as long as I’m on the bench, I’ll fight to make sure they do.

So I look forward to making my case to the voters of Ohio in the coming year.

I appreciate your support and friendship with all of my heart.

Thank you.

Ohio Democratic Party Files Public Records Request With Ohio Treasurer’s Office: Time To See The Public Schedule Of Absentee Treasurer Josh Mandel

Request Follows One Year Of Josh Mandel Ignoring His Job While Fundraising Across The Country For A Senate Run That Began Weeks After His Swearing In

Last Month Mandel Laughably Claimed He Was “Too Busy” To Find A Single Day During A Seven Month Period To Speak At The Akron Press Club

COLUMBUS, OHIO – Today Ohio Democratic Party Chair Chris Redfern filed a public records request with the Ohio Treasurer’s office in an effort reveal the public schedule of Ohio’s absentee Treasurer Josh Mandel. The request follows one year of Josh Mandel ignoring his job while finding time to fundraise across the country for a senate run that began just weeks after his swearing in.

Last month Mandel claimed he was “too busy” to find a single day during a seven month period to speak at the Akron Press Club.

Excerpt from the letter is as follows:

1. A copy, either electronic or in hard copy, of the daily schedule of Treasurer of State Mandel from January 10, 2011 to January 9, 2012.

Please produce the requested record within a reasonable period of time. We anticipate that this request will be easy for your office to produce.

“When not fighting numerous legal and ethical problems or refusing to stand up for Ohio’s middle class, Josh Mandel has traveled the country to raise money for a Senate run he began just weeks into his swearing in and it’s time Ohioans found out exactly what their absentee Treasurer’s been up to while drawing a taxpayer salary,” said Ohio Democratic Party press secretary Justin Barasky. “If Josh Mandel has time to fundraise in Hawaii, Las Vegas, New York City, Chicago, and Washington D.C. it simply isn’t believable that he’s ‘too busy’ to speak at the Akron Press Club just once in seven months.”

Full Text From The Letter Sent To The Treasurer’s Office Is Below

January 9, 2012

The Honorable Josh MandelOffice of the Ohio Treasurer of StateMr. Seth Metcalf30 E. Broad Street, 9th FloorColumbus, OH 43215

Re: Public Records Request

Dear Mr. Metcalf:

This is a request pursuant to Ohio Revised Code § 149.43 for the following records:

A copy, either electronic or in hard copy, of the daily schedule of Treasurer of State Mandel from January 10, 2011 to January 9, 2012.

Please produce the requested record within a reasonable period of time. We anticipate that this request will be easy for your office to produce.

If there is any information that will be excluded or any materials that will be redacted (other than Social Security numbers) pertaining to our request, we want to know those categories and under what privacy law or other provisions they are withheld or redacted.

Should any portion of this request be denied, in part or in whole, the law requires written justification for its denial, along with a citation of the appropriate Open Records Act exemption that applies for each record, or portion thereof, that is withheld or redacted.

Sincerely,

Chris RedfernOhio Democratic PartyChairman

Ohio’s 1st black female justice wants to keep seat

COLUMBUS, Ohio — The first black woman to sit on the Ohio Supreme Court will campaign to keep her seat.

The Ohio Democratic Party says Justice Yvette McGee Brown plans to formally announce her bid Monday afternoon at a YWCA facility in Columbus. She’s one of three justices in races this year.

Outgoing Democratic governor Ted Strickland picked McGee Brown in 2010 to fill a vacancy created by the election of Justice Maureen O’Connor as chief justice.

At the time, McGee Brown told The Plain Dealer in Cleveland that the appointment was significant to her and represented “more to people around the state.”

Josh Mandel Disturbingly Compares Standing Up For Ohio’s Middle Class Against Wall Street Abuse To “Jamming Things Down Our Throats”

Mandel Appears To Be Against Ohioan Rich Cordray’s Appointment Which Would Leave Ohio Without Consumer Protections From Wall Street Abuse

COLUMBUS, OHIO – Ohio’s absentee Treasurer Josh Mandel who is “too busy” to speak at the Akron Press Club emerged yesterday for a hard-hitting interview on Fox and Friends where he discussed President Obama’s recent appointment of Rich Cordray to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. While Mandel refuses to stand up for Ohio’s middle class against Chinese currency manipulation, Governor Kasich, or GOP extremists in Congress, surely he’s in favor of “protecting Americans from abuses by banks, payday lenders, and mortgage-loan and student-loan providers.”

Wrong. Take a look at what Mandel said to Fox and Friends when asked about Rich Cordray’s appointment.

Brian Kilmeade:

And on the surface, this seems like something the people of Ohio can relate to, but the republicans are going to fight this recess appointment.

Mandel:

It’s about the process. It’s about, again, Washington jamming things down the throat of the American people and the people here in the state of Ohio.

VIDEO: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cInUt4fFJX4

Bloomberg says the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau will benefit consumers “whenever they take out a payday loan, negotiate a mortgage rate, borrow money for school or pay a credit card fee.”  Most importantly, it will “protect middle-class Americans from nefarious practices that had helped lead to recession, record home foreclosures, and stubbornly high unemployment.” Of course, Josh Mandel would rather play political games.

“Josh Mandel’s absurd response to the President’s appointment of Rich Cordray to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau reminds us once again of the stunning lack of interest he has in fighting for Ohio’s middle class,” said Ohio Democratic Party press secretary Justin Barasky. “Josh Mandel has consistently refused to stand up for working families in Ohio and his decision to refer to consumer protections from Wall Street abuse and excess as ‘jamming things down our throats’ is another sad example.”

 

BACKGROUND

Mandel:  Republicans Should Fight Recess Appointment Of Richard Cordray Because Of “The Process.  It’s About … Washington Jamming Things Down The Throat Of The American People.”  During a January 2012 interview on Fox & Friends, host Brian Kilmeade said of the appointment of Richard Cordray to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau: “this seems like something the people of Ohio can relate to, but the republicans are going to fight this recess appointment.” Mandel replied:  “It’s about the process. It’s about, again, Washington jamming things down the throat of the American people and the people here in the state of Ohio.”  [Fox & Friends, 01/05/12]

Appointment Of Richard Cordray “Will Enable The Bureau To Do Its Job Of Protecting Americans From Abuses By Banks, Payday Lenders, And Mortgage-Loan And Student-Loan Providers.”  In a January 2012 editorial The Toledo Blade wrote: “President Obama's appointment of former Ohio attorney general Richard Cordray to lead the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau … will enable the bureau to do its job of protecting Americans from abuses by banks, payday lenders, and mortgage-loan and student-loan providers.”  [Toledo Blade, Editorial, 01/06/12]

CFPB Was Created “To Protect Middle-Class Americans From Nefarious Practices That Had Helped Lead To Recession, Record Home Foreclosures, And Stubbornly High Unemployment.”  In a January 2012 editorial The Toledo Blade wrote:  “President Obama's appointment of former Ohio attorney general Richard Cordray to lead the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau was overdue … Senate Republicans had blocked a vote on Mr. Cordray's appointment not because they disputed his clear qualifications, but because the financial industry and its GOP allies opposed the consumer bureau itself. The financial reform law enacted in 2009 created the bureau to protect middle-class Americans from nefarious practices that had helped lead to recession, record home foreclosures, and stubbornly high unemployment.”  [Toledo Blade, Editorial, 01/06/12]

Consumers May Benefit From CFPB “Whenever They Take Out A Payday Loan, Negotiate A Mortgage Rate, Borrow Money For School Or Pay A Credit Card Fee.”  In a January 2012 article Bloomberg.com reported that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau “centralizes the federal government’s authority and in some cases extends it. Consumers may benefit from its reach whenever they take out a payday loan, negotiate a mortgage rate, borrow money for school or pay a credit card fee.”  [Bloomberg.com, 01/05/12]

Cordray warns financial industry: Play fair or else

WASHINGTON — Richard Cordray said today that the new federal consumer protection agency he heads will aim to make “sure that financial institutions are playing by the rules,’’ warning the industry that “there are real consequences’’ for violating the law.

In a speech to the Brookings Institution just one day after President Barack used a recess appointment to name Cordray director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the former Ohio attorney general said he has “examiners on the ground today with broad authority’’ to inspect loan documents and ask “tough question’’ of financial institutions.

“The consumer bureau will make clear that there are real consequences to breaking the law,’’ Cordray said. “We have given informants and whistleblowers direct access to us. We took over a number of investigations from other agencies in July and we are pursuing some investigations jointly with them.’’

By outlining such a tough approach, Cordray is likely to win support from consumers across the country. But his speech could send a shiver through the nation’s financial industry, which has looked with dread upon the new bureau with its broad regulatory authority.

Congress created the bureau when it approved a sweeping overhaul in 2010 of the nation’s banking regulations. The new bureau will regulate a wide array of consumer financial products, such as home mortgages and credit-card offers while encouraging financial institutions to write easy-to-understand terms.

Last summer, Obama tapped Cordray to head the new bureau, but Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio and 44 other Senate Republicans used a filibuster to block the nomination last month.

Portman and other Republicans insisted they would oppose confirming any director until Obama agreed to modify the bureau’s powers. In particular, they wanted Congress to have the power to approve the bureau’s budget instead of it being financed by the Federal Reserve Board.

In an appearance Wednesday in Shaker Heights, Obama used a recess appointment to bypass the Senate. Cordray took the oath of office Wednesday evening.

Because of Obama’s move, Cordray said, “For the first time, we can exercise the full authorities granted to us under the new law. That is the specific difference that having a director makes.’’

Cordray said the bureau will immediately begin supervising what he called non-banks, such as payday lenders, mortgage services, private student lenders and “other firms that often compete with banks, but have largely escaped any meaningful federal oversight.’’

“With our full authorities in hand, we now have a variety of tools to address the problems facing consumers,’’ Cordray said. “We will succeed in our job if financial markets become more fair, more transparent, and more competitive.’’

Cordray made clear his belief that the financial industry had a major role in the 2008 collapse of the U.S. financial system. He said that “hidden fees and exploding interest rates have infected more products and services. Novel and exotic mortgages battered housing markets and triggered the financial crisis that wrecked the economy and hurt millions.’’

You Won’t Hear Him At The Akron Press Club, But You Can Follow @Iwant2beSenator To Hear From Ohio’s Absentee Treasurer Josh Mandel

Mandel Camp Recently Doubled Down On Josh’s Refusal To Take A Stand On Major Issues Before The U.S. Senate

COLUMBUS, OHIO – Today, the Ohio Democratic Party launched a new Twitter account to help Ohioans connect with their absentee Treasurer Josh Mandel since Mandel’s made it pretty clear he’s not going to connect with them.

Josh Mandel’s proven he’s much more comfortable raising money in Hawaii than standing up for Ohio’s middle class against China’s unfair currency manipulation or bad trade deals that are costing jobs here in Ohio. Mandel’s silence on the issues has continued for “months" and recently led the Akron Beacon Journal to charge that Mandel is “unsteady” and “in need of seasoning” while admonishing his “lack of readiness.”

Ohioans who are frustrated with Mandel’s silence now have a venue to hear from their Treasurer regarding his numerous legal and ethical violations, his refusal to fight for Ohio’s middle class, constant hiding from the press, and his numerous “ridiculous” and false attacks against Sherrod Brown.

You won’t hear Josh Mandel speak at the Akron Press Club, but now you can follow him and his reckless political ambition that’s spun wildly out of control on Twitter!

**FOLLOW JOSH MANDEL: @Iwant2beSenator

“Despite having time to raise money across the country while launching numerous false and misleading attacks that are consistently debunked by non-partisan fact-check organizations, Josh Mandel just can’t find the time to stand up for Ohio’s middle class against Chinese currency manipulation, bad trade deals, or the GOP plan to end Medicare as we know it,” said Ohio Democratic Party press secretary Justin Barasky. “Ohio’s absentee Treasurer couldn’t even find a single day in a seven month period to speak at the Akron Press Club, but Ohioans who are still waiting to hear from Josh Mandel can finally connect with him by following this new Twitter account.”

BACKGROUND

“Mandel … Remained Silent On Other Issues, As He Has For Months…” Mandel, a Republican, remained silent on other issues, as he has for months, but he went on the offensive on a single subject: environmental rules and the price of government regulation.” [Cleveland Plain Dealer, 12/24/11]

Mandel Spokesman: Mandel Is Not A Washington Politician And, “Consequently, For The Next Year We’re Not Going To Pretend Like He’s There And Voting.” “Mandel … would not give his opinion on a foreign trade bill promoted by Brown and supported by small Ohio manufacturers as well as Portman, a former White House trade ambassador. Brown's bill would authorize economic sanctions against China if authorities found China manipulated its currency, providing its exports with an unfair pricing advantage….Mandel spokesman Joe Aquilino said that the candidate is not a Washington politician and, ‘consequently, for the next year we're not going to pretend like he's there and voting on every bill that's introduced or that's on the floor.’” [Cleveland Plain Dealer, 12/24/11]

“As Debate Raged” Mandel’s Campaign “Would Not Say Whether He Supported Extending The Payroll Tax Cut And Unemployment Benefits.” “Mandel's criticism followed an attack last month in which he said Brown sided with ‘fringe extremists’ and ‘Washington bureaucrats’ who were blocking fracking … Mandel has remained silent on other issues. As debate raged … his campaign would not say whether he supported extending the payroll tax cut and unemployment benefits that had Congress tied in knots.” [Cleveland Plain Dealer, 12/24/11]

Mandel “Would Not Give His Opinion On A Foreign Trade Bill … Supported By Small Ohio Manufacturers As Well As Portman.” “Mandel also would not give his opinion on a foreign trade bill promoted by Brown and supported by small Ohio manufacturers as well as Portman, a former White House trade ambassador.” [Cleveland Plain Dealer, 12/24/11]

“What Distinguishes Mandel The Senate Candidate So Far … Has Been His Lack Of Readiness, Unsteady On The Issues, Throwing Wild Punches, In Need Of The Seasoning A Full Term In The Treasurer’s Office Would Provide.” “In his rush, interestingly enough, Mandel missed the deadline for filing his financial disclosure papers with the Senate. More, he couldn’t find time to speak in Akron, telling the Press Club no thanks, seven months after the invitation arrived. If he did speak? He would need to elevate his game. What distinguishes Mandel the Senate candidate so far, beyond his formidable fund raising, has been his lack of readiness, unsteady on the issues, throwing wild punches, in need of the seasoning a full term in the treasurer’s office would provide.” [Akron Beacon Journal, 12/31/11]

Akron Press Club Tried To Invite Mandel For Seven Months, Then Learned Mandel Would “Not Be Available For Any Date.” In a December 2011 press release, the Akron Press Club noted “Representatives from the Press Club worked through the summer to seek an acceptable date for the Mandel campaign and learned in December that he would not be available for any date.” [Akron Press Club, 12/6/11]

Obama installs Cordray as 'America's consumer watchdog'

SHAKER HEIGHTS, Ohio – Calling it an appointment as “America’s consumer watchdog,” President Obama today installed former Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray to head the new consumer financial protection bureau.

Obama’s move is another signal of his intent to battle Republicans in Congress during his re-election bid this year. It could also push Cordray’s nomination into legal question.

Appearing with Cordray on stage in front of more than 1,200 at Shaker Heights High School in suburban Cleveland, Obama announced his recess appointment of Cordray, even though Congressional Republicans contend the Senate is not in recess.

“Every day that Richard waited to be confirmed … was another day when millions of Americans were left unprotected,” Obama said. “ Because without a director in place, the consumer watchdog agency we’ve set up doesn't have the tools it needs to prevent dishonest mortgage brokers, payday lenders and debt collectors from taking advantage of consumers and that’s inexcusable. It’s wrong. And I refuse to take ‘no’ for an answer.”

The Senate last month refused to confirm Cordray as Republican Sen. Rob Portman and more than 40 other Republican senators used a filibuster to prevent a floor vote. Cordray, who lost his re-election bid as Ohio’s Attorney General to Mike DeWine in 2010, was nominated last summer to head the new agency that would, in part, work to give consumers better information about financial companies and police unfair, deceptive or abusive acts or practices for financial companies including credit card providers and mortgage companies.

Obama signaled then that he would consider installing Cordray via recess appointment, and used a speech here in Cordray’s home state (previously billed as a discussion of the economy) to announce that Cordray was now in charge.

Cordray, the Grove City native who flew with the president to Cleveland aboard Air Force One, told pool reporters that “we're gonna begin working to expand our program to non-banks, which is an area we haven't been able to touch up until now,” before he was pulled away by White House press secretary Jay Carney.

Republicans were quick to rebuke Obama for the move. House Speaker John Boehner, R-West Chester, called it “an extraordinary and entirely unprecedented power grab,” while Republican National Committee chairman Reince Prebius said it was “outrageous.”

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky said Obama “has arrogantly circumvented the American people.”

“This recess appointment represents a sharp departure from a long-standing precedent that has limited the President to recess appointments only when the Senate is in a recess of 10 days or longer,” McConnell said. “Breaking from this precedent lands this appointee in uncertain legal territory, threatens the confirmation process and fundamentally endangers the Congress’s role in providing a check on the excesses of the executive branch.”

Because the House has not permitted the Senate to recess, the Senate has scheduled informal sessions every third day, where no official business is conducted. The Senate briefly recessed Tuesday, but Obama did not use the minutes-long break to nominate Cordray, who also served as Ohio treasurer. The Senate is expected to convene for official business Jan. 23.

Dan Pfeiffer, the White House communications director, wrote on the White House blog that the Senate has “effectively been in recess for weeks and is expected to remain in recess for weeks” and called its pro forma sessions a “gimmick.”

"But gimmicks do not override the President’s constitutional authority to make appointments to keep the government running,” Pfeiffer wrote, also writing that former President George W. Bush’s lawyers have argued that the Senate cannot use pro forma sessions to block the president from recess appointments.

Obama, who’s re-casting himself during his re-election bid as a fighter against the back-drop of a Republican-controlled House and a narrowly divided Senate, said “when Congress refuses to act and as a result hurts our economy and puts people at risk, I have an obligation as president to do what I can without them.

“I have an obligation to act on behalf of the American people,” Obama said. “I will not stand by while a minority in the Senate puts party ideology ahead of the people that we were elected to serve.”

Obama and Cordray participated in a roundtable discussion at the home of Endia and William Eason, a Cleveland-area couple who the White House said almost lost their home due to predatory lending by a mortgage broker about 10 years ago. Obama used the Easons' example as a reason to install Cordray as head of the consumer protection agency.

Last year, 44 Republican senators, including Portman sent a letter to Obama saying they would oppose Cordray’s nomination unless there were significant changes to the agency that would increase the agency’s accountability.

Democrats on Wednesday applauded the move. Both Rep. Betty Sutton, D-Copley, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, accused Republicans of siding with “Wall Street” instead of allowing Cordray’s nomination to get a vote last year.

Brown and U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan of Niles appeared to be the only Ohio congressional Democrats not in Shaker Heights for Obama's speech.

The president finished his speech with this:

"I know you’re hearing a lot of promises from a lot of politicians lately, but today, you’re only going to hear one from me. As long as I have the privilege of serving as your president, I promise to do everything I can, every day, to make this country a place where hard work and responsibility mean something – where everyone can get ahead, not just those at the very top or those who know how to work the system."

Paid for and authorized by the Ohio Democratic Party, not authorized by any federal candidate or campaign committee. Chris Redfern, Chairman, 340 East Fulton St, Columbus, Ohio 43215.