CFPB deputy director sues Trump to block Mulvaney as interim leader

The deputy director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) on Sunday night sued President Trump in order to block Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney from taking over as acting director of the agency.

Leandra English, who was tapped by former CFPB Director Richard Cordray to be the acting director, filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia against Trump and Mulvaney, whom the president nominated to be CFPB’s interim leader.

The office of the CFPB’s head counsel is expected to challenge her suit, claiming Trump has the authority to override the bureau’s line of succession, Reuters reported Sunday night.


English’s complaint claims that she is the rightful acting director of the CFPB, and that the court should bar Mulvaney from taking the post. English claims that the provision of the Dodd-Frank Act that lays out the CFPB’s line of succession supersedes the Federal Vacancies Act, which Trump used to nominate Mulvaney.

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

Passed in 2010, the Dodd-Frank Act established the CFPB and called on the bureau’s deputy director to serve as acting director between Senate-confirmed chiefs. Cordray promoted English, his chief of staff, to the deputy director position shortly before resigning from the bureau on Friday.

Cordray said he made English, a senior CFPB official, the deputy director specifically to bridge the divide between his tenure and Trump’s director pick. English would likely carry on Cordray’s aggressive penalties for financial fraud and sweeping rules on lending.

But Trump nominated Mulvaney to be the CFPB’s acting director soon afterward on Friday evening, claiming he had the power to do so under the Vacancies Act of 1998. That law empowers the president to nominate any Senate-confirmed administration official as acting director of a department or agency.

English has asked the court to not only bar Mulvaney from the position, but declare that Dodd-Frank’s line of succession supersedes the Vacancies Act. English has also asked the court to ban Trump from appointing another acting director.

“The president may not, consistent with the statutory requirement of independence, install a still-serving White House staffer as the acting head of an independent agency,” read the complaint.

White House Officials and the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel argued that Trump’s power under the Vacancies Act allows him to nominate Mulvaney over English.

“The Administration is aware of the suit filed this evening by Deputy Director English,” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement provided to CNN. “However the law is clear: Director Mulvaney is the Acting Director of the CFPB. Now that the CFPB’s own General Counsel – who was hired under Richard Cordray – has notified the Bureau’s leadership that she agrees with the Administration’s and DOJ’s reading of the law, there should be no question that Director Mulvaney is the Acting Director.

“It is unfortunate that Mr. Cordray decided to put his political ambition above the interests of consumers with this stunt. Director Mulvaney will bring a more serious and professional approach to running the CFPB.”

Mulvaney’s nomination has been fiercely opposed by Democratic lawmakers and progressive groups aligned with the CFPB, who say the staunch conservative would gut the bureau from within. The former House Freedom Caucus member sponsored legislation to eliminate the CFPB, which he’s called “a sick, sad joke,” and has said he doesn’t think the bureau should exist.

CFPB Deputy Lawsuit by blc88 on Scribd

This story was updated at 9:55 p.m.

Tags Mick Mulvaney Richard Cordray

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