Ethics watchdog calls for probe into Mulvaney over 'real estate dealings'

Ethics watchdog calls for probe into Mulvaney over 'real estate dealings'
© Greg Nash

An ethics watchdog on Monday called for an investigation into Mick MulvaneyJohn (Mick) Michael MulvaneyProtect the Military Lending Act On The Money: Midterms to shake up House finance panel | Chamber chief says US not in trade war | Mulvaney moving CFPB unit out of DC | Conservatives frustrated over big spending bills Warren suggests Mulvaney broke law by speaking to GOP donors MORE, the White House budget chief and acting head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), alleging he misled a Senate panel during his confirmation last year.

The Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) filed a complaint to Senate Budget Committee Chairman Mike EnziMichael (Mike) Bradley EnziCruz gets help from Senate GOP in face of serious challenge from O’Rourke Budget chairs press appropriators on veterans spending Forcing faith-based agencies out of the system is a disservice to women MORE (R-Wyo.), ranking member Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersFive takeaways from Cruz, O'Rourke's fiery first debate Ben & Jerry’s co-founders announce effort to help 7 Dem House challengers Dems look to Gillum, Abrams for pathway to victory in tough states MORE (I-Vt.) and the Federal Reserve’s inspector general, Mark Bialek.

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“As acting director of the CFPB, Mulvaney is expected to protect consumers from unfair, deceptive, or abusive practices and take action against companies that break the law,” Noah Bookbinder, the executive director of CREW, said in a statement.

“His real estate dealings, and his apparent failure to come clean about them to the Senate, appear to be at odds with his legal and ethical requirements and run directly counter to the basic principles he is expected to uphold at the CFPB.”

The complaint references Mulvaney’s 2017 confirmation in front of the Senate Budget Committee, in which he detailed a foreclosure on one of his investments. CREW alleges that the Office of Management and Budget director was aware that the foreclosure was not “uncontested,” as he claimed at the time.

CREW also says Mulvaney “violated his ethical obligations by taking complex, unusual and potentially dishonest steps to avoid paying debts his company owed related to the property at issue in the foreclosure.” 

“Mr. Mulvaney’s complex commercial real estate interests create a heightened opportunity for conflicts of interest, and thus require stringent adherence to his disclosure and ethical obligations,” the complaint reads.

“Mr. Mulvaney, however, appears to have mischaracterized the foreclosure action and the nature of Fonville’s interest in the Lancaster property to the Senate during his nomination proceedings and to have taken extraordinary measures to avoid satisfying his company’s financial obligations to Fonville.”

Mulvaney is also facing Democratic calls for his resignation over comments suggesting he gave preferential treatment to lobbyists who donated to his campaigns when he was a congressman from South Carolina. 

“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 at a banking conference last week.