Strange Bedfellows: Barney Frank and the Pentagon

In the Atlantic Wire's vigilance to find odd pairings of political allies, Max Fisher has come across this: the Pentagon is joining Rep. Barney Frank's push for a Consumer Financial Protection Agency.

The Department of Defense sent a letter to Treasury in support of a CFPA that would, as part of its duties, help protect military servicemembers from predatory auto sales and financing. With DoD brass expressing support for a Don't Ask, Don't Tell repeal, this is the Pentagon's second foray into politically charged policy debate this year.

The letter isn't publicly available, but a Pentagon spokeswoman forwarded this statement:

The Department of Defense supports and encourages legislative efforts to establish a Consumer Financial Protection Agency (CFPA) to protect service members and their families from unscrupulous automobile sales and financing practices.

Informal studies indicate predatory lending practices are widespread.

Military services will continue to educate and advise their members about predatory practices including, but not limited to "bait and switch" financing, falsification of loan applications, "packing" loans, and discriminatory lending.

Automobile purchases represent a significant financial obligation and are therefore a potential source of stress especially to junior enlisted service members.

We believe the intervention of the CFPA in overseeing auto financing and sales for service members may help protect them and will assist us in reducing the concerns they have over their financial well-being.

The department believes that personal financial readiness of our troops and families equates to mission readiness.