Bureaucrats Turn Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Into Game of Thrones

Suit Challenges Trump's Pick for Consumer Financial Bureau

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With emails, tweets and doughnuts, the two dueling acting directors battled for control of the nation's top financial watchdog agency, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, on Monday.

Yet OLC concluded, unconvincingly, that the 1998 Federal Vacancies Reform Act still leaves the president with the option of installing Mulvaney, even though that statute's own terms explicitly state that it doesn't kick in when another agency-specific statute (here, the subsequently enacted provision of Dodd-Frank) "designates an officer or employee to perform the functions and duties of a specified office temporarily in an acting capacity". The second, President Donald Trump's choice, has called the agency a "joke", an example of bureaucracy run amok, and is expected to dismantle much of what the agency has done.

Mulvaney, speaking to reporters at the bureau, announced he was imposing a 30-day freeze on hiring and new rulemaking.

On Friday, CFPB director Richard Cordray resigned, appointing his chief of staff, Leandra English, to serve as the agency's acting director. The White House responded forcefully by saying Mulvaney, now director of the Office of Management and Budget, would be the one in control until Trump decided on a permanent successor, whose confirmation could take months.

In her suit filed Sunday night, Leandra English cites the Dodd-Frank Act, which created the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Mulvaney, now director of the Office of Management and Budget, has been an outspoken critic of the agency and is expected to pull back on many of Cordray's actions in the six years since he was appointed. Cordray was appointed to the position by President Barack Obama and has been long criticized by congressional Republicans for being overzealous but lauded by consumer advocates for aggressively going after banks for wrongdoing, like in the case of Wells Fargo. But President Trump named Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney as Cordray's successor shortly after. "Financial Institutions have been devastated and unable to properly serve the public". Democrats like Warren say the CFPB was sorely needed in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, and they've fought to keep the agency's authority - and the broader Dodd-Frank law - intact.

"The President's attempt to install a White House official at the head of an independent agency-while allowing that official to simultaneously serve in the White House-is unprecedented", English's lawyer, Deepak Gupta, said in a press release.

"I advise all bureau personnel to act consistently with the understanding that Director Mulvaney is the acting director of the CFPB", McLeod wrote.

The Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel had already approved Trump's appointment of Mulvaney, administration officials said. In his announcement Friday, Cordray highlighted English's "in-depth" knowledge of the agency's operations and its staff.

Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the White House press secretary, commented on the disarray: "It is unfortunate that Mr. Cordray made a decision to put his political ambition above the interests of consumers with this stunt", she said in a statement.

"He wants me to fix it and wants me to get it back to the point where it can protect people without trampling on capitalism, without choking off financial services", he said.

In her memorandum in support of a TRO, Ms.

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