Mulvaney says he won't fire consumer bureau deputy director who sued him

Mulvaney says he won't fire consumer bureau deputy director who sued him
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The acting chief of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) said Monday he won’t fire his deputy director despite the lawsuit she filed against him for control of the agency.

“It’s always a challenge when you’re in a workplace with someone who’s suing you, and I’m a named defendant,” said Mick MulvaneyJohn (Mick) Michael MulvaneyConsumers need a hero, not a hack, to head the CFPB Overnight Regulation: Feds push to clarify regs on bump stocks | Interior wants Trump to shrink two more monuments | Navajo Nation sues over monument rollback | FCC won't delay net neutrality vote | Senate panel approves bill easing Dodd-Frank rules Overnight Cybersecurity: Mueller probe cost .7M in early months | Senate confirms Homeland Security nominee | Consumer agency limits data collection | Arrest in Andromeda botnet investigation MORE, the acting chief of the CFPB and director of the Office of Management and Budget.

Mulvaney responded with a "no" to a direct question about whether he'd fire Leandra English, the CFPB's deputy director.

Mulvaney said his only contact with English since taking responsibility for the bureau on Nov. 27 has been through emails telling her to stop claiming to be the acting director and asking her to fulfill her specific duties as deputy director.

He said English has been splitting time between the CFPB’s downtown Washington headquarters and the bureau’s former temporary offices near Capitol Hill.

“We typically don’t chat,” Mulvaney said.

Mulvaney, a staunch fiscal conservative, was appointed by President Trump last month to lead the CFPB, once lauded by progressives for tough financials rule and penalties.

English sued Mulvaney and Trump, arguing she was the rightful temporary heir to the agency according to the Dodd-Frank financial reform law, and called herself the acting director in emails. Former CFPB Director Richard CordrayRichard Adams CordrayConsumers need a hero, not a hack, to head the CFPB Overnight Regulation: Feds push to clarify regs on bump stocks | Interior wants Trump to shrink two more monuments | Navajo Nation sues over monument rollback | FCC won't delay net neutrality vote | Senate panel approves bill easing Dodd-Frank rules Overnight Finance: GOP delays work on funding bill amid conservative demands | Senate panel approves Fed nominee Powell | Dodd-Frank rollback advances | WH disputes report Mueller subpoenaed Trump bank records MORE promoted English, then his chief of staff, to the deputy director position hours before he resigned.

A federal judge last week dismissed English’s suit, and though she’s expected to appeal, the decision cleared the way for Mulvaney to reshape the agency.

Mulvaney, who in Congress backed efforts to eliminate the CFPB, promised to make sweeping changes without burning the agency down.

Mulvaney said he supports an effort to repeal the bureau’s rule on payday lending started by a bipartisan group of lawmakers, but that he would enforce the rule as long as its active.

“The statute requires us to perform certain things and we will do that,” said Mulvaney, who added he’s working on “how to articulate how things are going to be different … to the staff, but the outside world as well”

With just a week under his belt, Mulvaney is also still acquainting himself with the the agency.

The acting director imposed a 30-day hiring and regulatory freeze upon taking control on Monday, and just began making payments from the bureau’s civil penalties fund. Mulvaney said the he’s reviewing the various lawsuits CFPB is party to, and said he’s sought delays in two cases where his opinion differs from Cordray’s.

Mulvaney also said he’s reviewing pending enforcement actions against financial services companies, analyzing the CFPB’s budget for potential savings, and continuing efforts to bolster the agency’s cyber security protections. He said the CFPB would stop collecting personally identifiable information until the bureau has a better handle on the data it stores.

 

Updated at 4:44 p.m.