Mulvaney Aims To Alter CFPB: Authority I Have ‘Should Frighten People’

Mick Mulvaney holds up his hand as he speaks during a news conference after his first day as acting director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in Washington, Monday, Nov. 27, 2017. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
Jacquelyn Martin/AP

White House Director of the Office of Management and Budget Mick Mulvaney, who the President just appointed as acting director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, said taxpayers “should be frightened” by the amount of power he has in this new post.

The structure of the CFPB is fundamentally flawed. The authority I have now as the acting director really should frighten people. You can sit down in a room with three or four people, and say, well, let’s go off and do this, and there is no accountability to Congress,” he said on Fox Business Network’s “Lou Dobbs Tonight” Thursday.

“I could set the budget pretty much without any input from Congress, in fact, without any input from Congress,” he said. “On one hand people call it independent but the bottom line is it’s simply unaccountable.”

The budget chief said he is “hopeful” he can restructure the agency to make it more accountable to taxpayers and said he wants to “limit as much as we can what the CFPB does to sort of interfere with capitalism and the financial services market.”

Mulvaney’s takeover of the agency had a rocky start.

Outgoing CFPB director Richard Cordray appointed his then-Chief of Staff Leandra English to serve as acting director until the Senate approved a permanent chief for the agency. However, President Donald Trump interfered, appointing Mulvaney to head the bureau until he nominates a new director, which prompted English to file a lawsuit to try to bar Mulvaney’s reign.

Both Mulvaney and English showed up to work on Monday, both claiming to be acting director and causing widespread confusion about authority in the executive agency. On Tuesday, a judge ruled in favor of Trump, making Mulvaney the acting head of the consumer watchdog.   

A lot of folks, including the woman now purporting to be acting director, thought they would be beholden to Obama administration, but if someone else won they would not have to be beholden to them … This is not right, the President of United States, this is an executive agency, has the right to have influence over there, has the right to have their agenda put forward and that’s exactly what were doing at the CFPB,” Mulvaney said.

Watch the interview below:

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Nicole Lafond is a news writer for TPM based in New York City. She is also currently earning a master's degree in journalism from Columbia University and previously worked as an education reporter at The News-Gazette in Champaign, Ill. Follow her on Twitter @Nicole_Lafond.
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