Bureaucrats Turn Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Into Game of Thrones

J. Scott Applewhite  AP Images

Welp, it looks like employees at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau returned from the Thanksgiving break to find their agency transformed into a raging tire fire of Trumpian chaos.

"Ms. English has a clear legal entitlement to the position of acting director of the CFPB", the lawsuit read, according to the Wall Street Journal. The White House then named its own interim leader.

The White House told CNBC that Mulvaney was given access to the director's office with full support from the bureau's staff, despite the lawsuit filed against him and President Trump by CFPB Deputy Director Leandra English.

"A new director can not gut the agency, a new director can not put CFPB out of business because the CFPB is a creature of statute and it has very specific responsibilities and authorities", she said. District Judge Timothy Kelly, one of Trump's two new D.C. appointees, is slated to hear the case at 4:30 p.m. Mulvaney himself has been a vocal critic of the agency, calling it a "sick, sad" joke.

Why was there a vacancy at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau?

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.

First, it is hard to see how Deputy Director English obtains an injunction, as a court could reasonably have doubts about both her likelihood of success on the merits, and her claim of irreparable harm (since she may not have a cognizable legal interest in running the agency).

In the complaint, she refers to Mulvaney as "the person claiming to be acting director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau", asserting, "the President's purported or intended appointment of defendant Mulvaney as Acting Director of the CFPB is unlawful".

She said rolling back existing CFPB rules is trickier and would take longer, but that's also possible.

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We'll report back if we find out who's in charge here.

The CFPB was established in 2010 as an independent agency responsible for protecting consumers from illegal actions by banks, credit unions, payday lenders, debt collectors, and other financial companies in the United States.

"In the Saturday memo to the CFPB leadership team, McLeod said, ".it is my legal opinion that the President possesses the authority to designate an Acting Director for the Bureau".

Mulvaney said he was surprised at the unchecked powers afforded to the bureau - including his. "I will be here until the court or the president tells me otherwise". In fact, Mulvaney's OMB staff was tweeting about Mick's bright and early arrival to his newest job, and it appears that he even brought donuts.

But he said the way the he and Trump run the CFPB will be "dramatically different" than how it was operated under former President Obama.

"Leandra is a seasoned professional who has spent her career of public service focused on promoting smooth and efficient operations", Cordray said in the statement.

"The president should quit playing games and nominate a director who will stand up for consumers, who isn't a creature of the very industries the CFPB regulates, and who can earn a bipartisan confirmation in the Senate", consumer watchdog group Allied Progress said in a statement on Monday.

CFPB also created new consumer protection rules for mortgages and paydayloans.

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