The White House is committed to having Office of Management and Budget Director John M. “Mick” Mulvaney act as the acting director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau until a successor is nominated and confirmed–not Leadra English, whose last-minute appointment as deputy director has the makings of a holdover-coup at the agency.
“The President believes that Director Mulvaney is the best choice to lead the CFPB and its dedicated staff during this transition,” said senior White House aide familiar with the administration’s strategy. “We hope that Ms. English will respect the longstanding precedent that supports the president’s designation of Director Mulvaney and maintain a smooth transition of leadership at the CFPB.”
Outgoing director Richard Cordray named English his deputy director Friday, setting in motion a scheme to keep control of the CFPB until President Donald J. Trump’s choice for director is in place, because the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial services regulation law that created the CFPB states that the deputy director becomes the acting director. The Dodd-Frank language is in direct conflict with the 1998 Federal Vacancies Reform Act and if acted upon would put an unconfirmed individual in a position that requires Senate confirmation.
“It is unfortunate that former Director Cordray is trying to spark controversy to fuel his political ambitions,” the senior aide said. “The CFPB should be focused on protecting consumers, not serving Cordray’s personal interests.” There is speculation that Ohio native Codray is returning home to run for governor.
Friday was Cordray’s last day, although his actual five-year term expired in July, and his new deputy not only claimed she was the acting director, but also filed suit in federal court requesting that a judge stay Mulvaney’s acting as the director.
The senior White House aide told Big League Politics: that the Trump administration is aware of the suit filed by English Sunday night, but the law is clear.
“Director Mulvaney is the acting director of the CFPB,” the senior aide said. “The president is using his longstanding and non-controversial authority under the Vacancies Act, which has been found time and again to supersede other methods of designating acting successors.”
Working against the CFPB coup, there are legal rulings and a court case, Hooks v. Kitsap, that support Trump’s position and it is further backed by the longstanding view of the Justice Department, he said.
CFPB general counsel Mary McLeod, in a memorandum, said President Trump had the legal authority to name an acting director to the bureau under the Federal Vacancies Reform Act: “It is my legal opinion that the president possesses the authority to designate an acting director for the bureau. I advise all bureau personnel to act consistently with the understanding that Director Mulvaney is the acting director of the CFPB.”