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 MulvaneyWhite House preparing to ask Congress for funds to combat coronavirus: report Tucker Carlson calls out Mick Mulvaney on immigration remarks: 'Dishonest and stupid' Trump furious after officials allowed Americans with coronavirus to fly home with other passengers: report 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 MerkleyInterest rate caps are popular — for good reason Overnight Energy: EPA to regulate 'forever chemicals' in drinking water | Trump budget calls for slashing funds for climate science centers | House Dems urge banks not to fund drilling in Arctic refuge Democratic senators criticize plan that could expand Arctic oil and gas development MORE (Ore.), Sherrod BrownSherrod Campbell BrownTrump pick for Fed seat takes bipartisan fire On The Money: Deficit spikes 25 percent through January | Mnuchin declines to say why Trump pulled Treasury nominee who oversaw Roger Stone case | Lawmakers trade insults over Trump budget cuts Mnuchin defends Treasury regulations on GOP tax law MORE (Ohio), Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinCalifornia lawmakers mark Day of Remembrance for Japanese internment Democratic senators ask DOJ watchdog to expand Giuliani probe House passes bipartisan bill to create women's history museum MORE (Calif.), Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenRussian interference reports rock Capitol Hill McSally unveils bill to lower drug prices amid tough campaign Graham: Trump has 'all the legal authority in the world' to pardon Stone MORE (Ore.) and Catherine Cortez MastoCatherine Marie Cortez MastoProgressives hope Nevada offers roadmap for pro-union 2020 victory Kennedy, Markey spar over experience in first Senate primary debate DSCC endorses McGrath in race against McConnell MORE (Nev.) and Independent Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersAdvisor: Sanders could beat Trump in Texas Bloomberg rips Sanders over Castro comments Liberal author Matt Stoller: Iowa caucus screw-up was 'Boeing 737 Max of the Democratic Party' 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