Top CFPB lawyer sides with Trump over Mulvaney appointment

Top CFPB lawyer sides with Trump over Mulvaney appointment
© Camille Fine

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's (CFPB) general counsel has sided with the Trump administration over its appointment of Office of Management and Budget Director Mick MulvaneyJohn (Mick) Michael MulvaneyOn The Money: Judge rules banks can give Trump records to House | Mnuchin pegs debt ceiling deadline as 'late summer' | Democrats see momentum in Trump tax return fight | House rebukes Trump changes to consumer agency House rebukes Mulvaney's efforts to rein in consumer bureau The Hill's Morning Report - Pelosi remains firm despite new impeachment push MORE to temporarily lead the agency, according to a memo obtained by Politico.

"As General Counsel for the Bureau, it is my legal opinion that the President possesses the authority to designate an Acting Director for the Bureau," Mary McLeod wrote in a memo from Nov. 25, according to Politico.

"I advise all Bureau personnel to act consistently with the understanding that Director Mulvaney is the Acting Director of the CFPB," she continued. 

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News of the memo comes as Leandra English, who was chosen by former CFPB Director Richard CordrayRichard Adams CordrayHouse rebukes Mulvaney's efforts to rein in consumer bureau The road to the White House still goes through Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan announces presidential run MORE to be the acting director, filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia against Trump and Mulvaney in an effort to block Trump's pick from taking over as interim leader.

While the Justice Department has maintained Trump is allowed to choose Mulvaney through the 1998 Federal Vacancies Act, English said on Sunday the CFPB's line of succession actually lies in the Dodd-Frank Act, which established the agency in 2010. 

“The president’s purported or intended appointment of defendant Mulvaney as Acting Director of the CFPB is unlawful,” English's complaint reads, adding that the administration's use of the Federal Vacancies Act is “an obvious contravention of Congress’s statutory scheme” that “cannot be reconciled with Dodd-Frank’s mandatory language.”

Trump's appointment of Mulvaney, which would be temporary, has sparked concern among Democrats, such as Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenThe Hill's Morning Report — After contentious week, Trump heads for Japan On The Money: Senate passes disaster aid bill after deal with Trump | Trump to offer B aid package for farmers | House votes to boost retirement savings | Study says new tariffs to double costs for consumers Overnight Energy: Democrats ask if EPA chief misled on vehicle emissions | Dem senators want NBC debate focused on climate change | 2020 hopeful John Delaney unveils T climate plan MORE (D-Mass.), who have pointed to Mulvaney's past rhetoric about the agency.