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 MulvaneyMick MulvaneyLong waits for test results spark new COVID-19 fears Trump's former chief of staff hits coronavirus efforts: 'We still have a testing problem' Coronavirus Report: The Hill's Steve Clemons interviews Chris Christie 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. 

ADVERTISEMENT

News of the memo comes as Leandra English, who was chosen by former CFPB Director Richard CordrayRichard Adams CordrayConsumer bureau revokes payday lending restrictions Supreme Court ruling could unleash new legal challenges to consumer bureau Supreme Court rules consumer bureau director can be fired at will 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 WarrenProgressive Mondaire Jones wins NY primary to replace Nita Lowey Dunford withdraws from consideration to chair coronavirus oversight panel Biden campaign announces second round of staff hires in Arizona MORE (D-Mass.), who have pointed to Mulvaney's past rhetoric about the agency.