Sen. Elizabeth Warren isn’t letting the Trump administration gut the financial watchdog she championed without a fight.
Late last week, the Massachusetts Democrat sent a letter to the inspector general of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau asking him to review the actions of White House budget director Mick Mulvaney in his new role as the interim head of the agency. “For all intents and purposes, Mr. Mulvaney appears to have announced a 30-day shutdown of the CFPB,” Warren wrote. “This represents a waste of taxpayer dollars and raises questions about whether Mr. Mulvaney has prevented the CFPB from fulfilling its congressional mandate.”
Mulvaney’s brief tenure has been marked by controversy. Trump named him the acting director on November 24, hours after the Obama-era director Richard Cordray appointed Leandra English to be his successor and then stepped down from his post. English contested Trump’s pick in a lawsuit last week, claiming that she is the rightful acting director of the agency according to the chain of succession outlined in the 2010 Dodd-Frank law. A federal judge ruled against English’s argument last week, but her lawyers have said they’re planning to file another motion seeking an injunction against Mulvaney and Trump this week.
Warren’s letter calls on the inspector general to look into the vague and sweeping nature of Mulvaney’s actions in the week since he assumed contested control of the bureau. On his first day, Mulvaney declared that “anything that’s in the pipeline stops” and imposed 30-day freezes on any “new rules, regulation, and guidance,” on hiring, and on payments from the Civil Penalty fund to victims of financial misconduct.
“Mr. Mulvaney provided no clarity on his authority to enact these moratoria, their impact, or how they would be implemented,” Warren writes. She also notes her concern that Mulvaney has halted actions that were imminent or in progress before he took control. For instance, the CFPB was teeing up a lawsuit against Spanish bank Santander for allegedly overcharging consumers for car loans that was set to be filed as early as last Monday, coincidentally, Mulvaney’s first day at the bureau. That suit has not been filed yet, and one of Santander’s chief lobbyists, notes Warren, is Mulvaney’s former chief of staff.
Warren asks the inspector general to provide a complete list of Mulvaney’s specific actions, the reasoning behind the freezes, and whether Mulvaney or other officials at the CFPB “examined their potential impact prior to announcing and implementing them.”
You can read the letter from Sen. Warren below: