Law360 features Allyson Baker's arguments on behalf for-profit accreditation group in CFPB probe

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On February 10, 2016, Law360 featured Venable partner Allyson Baker's arguments on behalf of a for-profit college accrediting council in a probe by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) into the group's lending practices. During arguments, a DC federal judge appeared concerned that the CFPB was conducting a "fishing expedition" and wondered why the agency did not just target individual schools for potential violations. The council urged the judge to toss the CFPB's subpoena because it has "absolutely nothing" to do with financial services and that its accreditation process focuses only on academic evaluations.

"There is no consumer financial product at issue," argued Baker. "Even if theoretically [the CFPB] unearthed conduct it believed was unlawful, it doesn't have the authority to touch that conduct." She said case law mostly involves the Federal Trade Commission which has "substantially larger subject matter jurisdiction" than the CFPB. The CFPB also demanded the disclosure of peer discussions, which Baker said is "something that could really compromise the integrity of that process."

In addition to Baker, Andrew Hernacki and Benjamin Horowitz also represent the council.