Senate Dems request investigation of Mulvaney over lobbyist remarks
© Greg Nash
A group of Senate Democrats want federal investigators to probe if Mick MulvaneyJohn (Mick) Michael MulvaneyTrump telling aides to look at potential spending cuts if he wins reelection: report Budget talks between White House, Pelosi spill into weekend Trump says Democrats shouldn't use debt ceiling as leverage MORE, Trump's budget director and the acting director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), broke a law that limits political activities for federal employees. 
 
Mulvaney, who is both the director of the Office of Management and Budget and the interim chief of the CFPB, told bankers last week that when he was a member of Congress he had a "hierarchy" and would only consider meeting with lobbyists who donated to his campaigns. 
 
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“If you were a lobbyist who never gave us money, I didn't talk to you. If you were a lobbyist who gave us money, I might talk to you. If you came from back home and sat in my lobby, I would talk to you without exception, regardless of the financial contributions,” Mulvaney said.
 
Democratic Sens. Jeff MerkleyJeffrey (Jeff) Alan MerkleyDems open to killing filibuster in next Congress Democrats warm to idea of studying reparations Senate Democrat releasing book on Trump admin's treatment of migrants at border MORE (Ore.), Sherrod BrownSherrod Campbell BrownThe Hill's Morning Report - A raucous debate on race ends with Trump admonishment On The Money: Senators unload on Facebook cryptocurrency | Tech giants on defensive at antitrust hearing | Democrats ask Labor Department to investigate Amazon warehouses Hillicon Valley: Senators unload on Facebook cryptocurrency plan | Trump vows to 'take a look' at Google's ties to China | Google denies working with China's military | Tech execs on defensive at antitrust hearing | Bill would bar business with Huawei MORE (Ohio), Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinTop Democrats demand security assessment of Trump properties Democrats warm to idea of studying reparations Hillicon Valley: Senators unload on Facebook cryptocurrency plan | Trump vows to 'take a look' at Google's ties to China | Google denies working with China's military | Tech execs on defensive at antitrust hearing | Bill would bar business with Huawei MORE (Calif.), Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenDemocrat: Treasury 'acknowledged the unprecedented process' in Trump tax return rejection Hillicon Valley: Twitter says Trump 'go back' tweet didn't violate rules | Unions back protests targeting Amazon 'Prime Day' | Mnuchin voices 'serious concerns' about Facebook crypto project | Congress mobilizes on cyber threats to electric grid Top Democrat demands answers on election equipment vulnerabilities MORE (Ore.) and Catherine Cortez MastoCatherine Marie Cortez MastoMcConnell challenger faces tougher path after rocky launch The Hill's Morning Report - A raucous debate on race ends with Trump admonishment Democrat Sherrod Brown torches Facebook at hearing: They 'broke journalism,' 'helped incite a genocide' MORE (Nev.) and Independent Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersGabbard arrives in Puerto Rico to 'show support' amid street protests Democratic strategist predicts most 2020 candidates will drop out in late fall Sanders unveils plan to guarantee the 'right to a secure retirement' MORE (Vt.) sent a letter to the Office of Special Counsel on Tuesday asking for an investigation of whether Mulvaney violated the Hatch Act. 
 
"In his official capacity as interim director of the CFPB, he suggested to 1,300 bankers and lobbyists that they increase their campaign donations as a way to influence lawmakers. If the initial reporting by The New York Times is accurate, it raises troubling questions about whether his statements ran afoul of the Hatch Act," the Democratic senators wrote in their letter. 
 
Mulvaney's comments stunned Washington, marking a rare admission from a former lawmaker. They also sparked outrage from Democrats, who say the comments underscore the broader pay-to-play cronyism they see within the Trump administration. 
 
"These comments reinforce the American public’s worst fears about a corrupt Washington establishment that sells access and is rigged for special interests with teams of lobbyists and deep pockets," the Democrats added in their letter. 
 
John Czwartacki, a spokesman for Mulvaney, defended the budget chief's comments, saying his point was about the importance of hearing from constituents. 
 
"He was making the point that hearing from people back home is vital to our democratic process and the most important thing our representatives can do. It’s more important than lobbyists and it’s more important than money," Czwartacki told The New York Times