CEI Leads Letter Rejecting Recoup Act

Photo Credit: Getty

Dear Speaker Johnson, Minority Leader Jeffries, Majority Leader Schumer, and Minority Leader McConnell: 

As leaders of policy groups concerned with constitutional liberties, government accountability, and the abuse of power, we urge you to reject the dangerous and misguided S. 2190, the RECOUP (Recovering Executive Compensation Obtained from Unaccountable Practices) Act.  

The RECOUP Act would increase financial regulatory agencies’ powers excessively by allowing them to remove the leadership of any U.S. bank they supervise, even if the agency doesn’t deem such a bank as at risk of going under.   

Under the bill, financial regulators would have the power to remove the executives of banks – including the smallest of community banks – anytime these bureaucrats believe a bank has failed “to appropriately implement financial, risk, or supervisory reporting or information system or controls.” The bill’s language is written so broadly that it may allow bank regulators to take over banks on the basis of policy judgments about certain industries with which the banks do business. It has been postulated, for instance, that executives of banks lending to oil and gas producers could be subject to the bill’s removal provisions for failing to implement adequate “climate risk” reporting or controls.  

We believe the granting of new powers such as these to federal bank regulatory agencies would be especially dangerous given recent allegations of abuses of power at such agencies. For instance, the House Judiciary Committee revealed that the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) instructed banks to send the government random info about purchases at outdoor sporting stores and use of the terms “Trump and “MAGA” in payment app messages, because FinCEN claimed that these mere purchases and word usage could be indicators of “extremism.” Giving bureaucrats a trove of data on people’s private purchases and speech could enable dossiers and profiles of law-abiding Americans that bureaucrats believe have the “wrong” pursuits and thoughts.   

Similarly, a guidance document issued late last year by bank regulatory agencies — warning of the supposed risks to banks of dealing with fossil fuel industries — has been read by industry watchers as regulatory pressure on banks to sever relationships with companies and individuals in those sectors. This is reminiscent of Operation Choke Point, under which Obama administration agencies pressured banks to cut off or reduce financial services to several types of legal businesses —from firearms to fireworks – that bureaucrats deemed harmful to a bank’s “reputational risk.”  

The RECOUP Act is flawed under any circumstances, but its boosting of the powers of financial regulatory agencies before these troubling issues are resolved would almost certainly lead to new abuses of power. We are also particularly concerned about provisions of the RECOUP Act being added to a must-pass appropriations bill. This approach would deny members of Congress the opportunity for basic debate of the far-reaching impactful provisions of the legislation. For these reasons, we urge you to reject the RECOUP Act as a stand-alone bill or if added to other legislation.  


John Berlau  
Director of Finance Policy  
Competitive Enterprise Institute  

Grover Norquist  
Americans for Tax Reform  

Saulius “Saul” Anuzis  
60 Plus Association  

James L. Martin  
60 Plus Association  

Paul Teller  
Executive Director  
Advancing American Freedom  

Thomas H. Jones  
American Accountability Foundation Action

Phil Kerpen  
American Commitment  

Steve Pociask   
American Consumer Institute   

Thomas Pyle  
American Energy Alliance  

Hon. Jason Isaac  
American Energy Institute  

Richard Manning  
Americans for Limited Government  

Brent Gardner  
Chief Government Affairs Officer  
Americans for Prosperity  

*E. Calvin Beisner, Ph.D.  
Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation

Maureen Blum  
Executive Director   
Catholics Count  

Timothy Lee  
Senior Vice President of Legal and Public Affairs  
Center for Individual Freedom  

Craig Rucker  

Ashley Baker  
Director of Public Policy  
The Committee for Justice    

Matthew Kandrach
President Consumer
Action for a Strong Economy  

Craig Richardson  
Energy & Environment Legal Institute (E&E Legal)   

Adam Brandon  

Aidan Johnston  
Director of Federal Affairs  
Gun Owners of America  

Cameron Sholty  
Executive Director  
Heartland Impact  

James Taylor  
The Heartland Institute  

Hadley Heath Manning  
Vice President for Policy   
Independent Women’s Voice

Jon Sanders  
Director of the Center for Food, Power, and Life  
The John Locke Foundation  

Seton Motley  
Less Government  

Charles Moran  
Log Cabin Republicans  

Charles Sauer  
Market Institute  

The Honorable Sam Brownback  
National Committee for Religions Freedom  

Brandon Arnold   
Executive Vice President  
National Taxpayers Union  

Donna Jackson  
Director, Membership Development  
Project 21 Black Leadership Network  

Bette Grande  
CEO, President  
Roughrider Policy Center DBA Roughrider Institute  

Karen Kerrigan  
President & CEO  
Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council  

Patrick M. Brenner  
Southwest Public Policy Institute  

David Williams  
Taxpayers Protection Alliance  

Andrew Langer
Institute for Liberty

*Benjamin Zycher   
Senior Fellow   
American Enterprise Institute


* Organizational affiliation is for identification only and does not imply organizational endorsement.