Mick Mulvaney, the Trump-appointed acting director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, asked for zero dollars in his quarterly budget request Wednesday.
In a letter obtained by TPM (read it below), Mulvaney told Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen that “[s]imply put, I have been assured that the funds currently in the Bureau Fund are sufficient” to last the quarter. Politico first reported the request letter.
The move is unprecedented: The consumer watchdog agency has reliably asked the Fed for tens of millions of dollars quarterly to cover its operating expenses. The requests have topped $200 million four times, and have never been rejected.
The “Bureau Fund” Mulvaney referred to is the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection Fund at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, the CFPB’s bank account and home to what Mulvaney called a “‘reserve fund’ to address possible financial contingencies.”
Politico reported that Richard Cordray, the former director of the CFPB, had maintained the fund, in the publication’s words, “in case of overruns and emergencies.” Mulvaney said in his letter that he saw “no specific statutory authority” nor any “practical reason” for it.
Mulvaney, whose appointment as acting director in November is the subject of legal action by current CFPB Deputy Director Leandra English, has made clear that he’s no fan of the agency he currently leads. In 2014 he called it a “sick, sad joke” and he announced Tuesday that the bureau would “reconsider” a planned CFPB rule to regulate predatory payday lenders.
Then, on Wednesday, Mulvaney announced that all of the bureau’s activities would be put under review.
As Slate first noted, the bureau also changed its mission statement last month.
It used to help “consumer finance markets work by making rules more effective, by consistently and fairly enforcing those rules, and by empowering consumers to take more control over their economic lives.”
Now, the CFPB “is a 21st century agency that helps consumer finance markets work by regularly identifying and addressing outdated, unnecessary, or unduly burdensome regulations, by making rules more effective, by consistently enforcing federal consumer financial law, and by empowering consumers to take more control over their economic lives.”
Read Mulvaney’s funding request letter below: