WASHINGTON – Mick Mulvaney, the acting director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau nominated by President Donald Trump, came to the agency to assume his duties on Monday despite the fact that CFPB already has another interim chief.
Local television reports showed Mulvaney entering the CFPB offices with a box of doughnuts.
Currently, the CFPB has two interim directors – Mulvaney and Leandra English, who has been operating as interim chief after the exit on Friday of the first and only CFPB head so far, Democrat Richard Cordray.
The CFPB, an independent agency created during the financial reform implemented by former President Barack Obama, has been accused by Trump and Republican congressional lawmakers of overstepping her authority and blocking activities in the financial sector.
English filed a lawsuit in US District Court in Washington DC claiming to be the CFPB’s “rightful acting director” and asking for a temporary restraining order to stop Trump from appointing Mulvaney, who has been serving as the White House acting budget director.
“The President’s purported or intended appointment of defendant Mulvaney as Acting Director of the CFPB is unlawful,” the lawsuit says.
On Friday, Cordray announced that he was leaving his post at the end of November, as anticipated, and he designated his chief of staff, English, to be acting head of the watchdog agency.
The 2010 Dodd-Frank law, the basis of Obama’s financial reform, stipulates that the CFPB deputy director must act as interim director of the agency until the president appoints – and the Senate confirms – someone to occupy the post on a permanent basis.
But Trump, in a communique released late on Friday, designated Mulvaney to be the acting CFPB chief.
Mulvaney is a longtime critic of the CFPB and Democratic lawmakers say that by tapping him for the post Trump is clearly intending to cut back the power and independence of the agency.
Over the weekend, the White House defended Trump’s legal authority to name an acting director of the agency, citing the Federal Vacancies Reform Act of 1998, until the Senate confirms a new chief.
English’s lawsuit claims that Dodd-Frank superseded the Federal Vacancies Reform Act.
The District of Columbia court has not yet ruled on the matter.
The CFPB was created to increase the supervision of financial entities regarding mortgages and credit cards, among other financial products, and to protect consumers after the abuses that led to the 2008 economic crisis.