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 MulvaneyGOP presses Trump to make a deal on spending GOP senator warns Trump, Mulvaney against 'draconian' budget cuts Overnight Defense: Iran tensions swirl as officials prepare to brief Congress | Trump threatens war would be 'end of Iran' | Graham tells Trump to 'stand firm' | Budget talks begin 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 MerkleyOvernight Energy: EPA watchdog finds Pruitt spent 4K on 'excessive' travel | Agency defends Pruitt expenses | Lawmakers push EPA to recover money | Inslee proposes spending T for green jobs Dems request investigation of lobbyist-turned-EPA employee who met with former boss This week: House to vote on bill to ban LGBTQ discrimination MORE (Ore.), Sherrod BrownSherrod Campbell BrownOn The Money: Judge upholds House subpoena for Trump financial records | Trump vows to appeal ruling by 'Obama-appointed judge' | Canada, Mexico lift retaliatory tariffs on US | IRS audit rate falls Lawmakers grapple with the future of America's workforce The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Pass USMCA Coalition - Restrictive state abortion laws ignite fiery 2020 debate MORE (Ohio), Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinThis week: Democrats, White House set for infrastructure, budget talks Senate confirms Rosen for No. 2 spot at DOJ Senate confirms controversial 9th Circuit pick without blue slips MORE (Calif.), Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenIRS audit rate down in fiscal 2018 Oregon man sentenced after threatening to chop off Dem senator's tongue House to vote on retirement bill next week MORE (Ore.) and Catherine Cortez MastoCatherine Marie Cortez MastoThis week: Barr back in hot seat over Mueller report Schumer, author discussed possible Kansas Senate run: report Life in the minority at the FCC MORE (Nev.) and Independent Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersThe Memo: Trump faces steep climb to reelection California Democrats face crisis of credibility after lawsuits Fox's Brit Hume fires back at Trump's criticism of the channel 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