Freedom Caucus chairman seeks clarification from Mulvaney on lobbyist comments

Freedom Caucus chairman seeks clarification from Mulvaney on lobbyist comments
© Greg Nash

House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark MeadowsMark Randall MeadowsEx-Ukraine ambassador arrives to give testimony GOP seeks to gain more control of impeachment narrative Conservative lawmakers demand Schiff's recusal from Trump impeachment inquiry MORE (R-N.C.) on Wednesday said he wants White House budget chief Mick MulvaneyJohn (Mick) Michael MulvaneyHillicon Valley: Trump official declines to testify on trade protections for tech | Senators call for better info-sharing on supply chain threats | Apple pulls app after Chinese pressure Overnight Energy: Dems subpoena Perry in impeachment inquiry | EPA to overhaul rules on lead contamination tests | Commerce staff wrote statement rebuking weather service for contradicting Trump Commerce staff drafted statement rebuking weather service for contradicting Trump's hurricane predictions MORE to clarify comments that he had a “hierarchy” in his congressional office for meeting with constituents and lobbyists.

“I’ve got to call Mick to ask him for clarification on that,” Meadows told reporters. “I wouldn’t know if a lobbyist has given me a dime or 10 dimes.”

“If you have someone who comes in the door and it’s based on how much money they’ve given,” he added, “that’s a problem.”



Meadows later received a response from Mulvaney clarifying his comments and pointing to the full transcript of his remarks, according to a GOP aide.

Mulvaney, the acting director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and former GOP representative, on Tuesday told a Washington conference of more than 1,000 bankers that he would always value his South Carolina constituents over lobbyists, but he made headlines for also saying he would likely only meet with a lobbyist if they donated money to his campaign.

“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.

Mulvaney, a former Freedom Caucus member himself, has called on lawmakers to weaken the CFPB director’s unchecked power, take control of the bureau’s funding and drastically limit the scope of what the agency can do without congressional approval.

The acting director urged the crowd of banking executives to push their representatives to support these changes among the myriad issues Congress deals with on a daily basis.

“They will never know as much about your industry as you do. They will never know as much about your issues as you do, and they will not know that it is important to you as it is until you tell them,” Mulvaney said.

"You may be completely on the other end of political ideology from me and I don't care. The fact that people simply come up and get engaged will always have value, at least I hope that it will, so thank you for doing that." 

Updated at 1:14 p.m.