Mulvaney Might Double as Temporary Head of Consumer Bureau

White House budget director Mick Mulvaney in September. White House budget director Mick Mulvaney in September. AP file photo

A longtime critic of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau may soon take over as its director, according to multiple news reports on Thursday that the White House has declined to confirm.

Trump administration budget director Mick Mulvaney, according to an unnamed official who spoke to CNN and the Associated Press, said the former South Carolina Republican Congressman would add temporary leadership of the bureau to his duties running the Office of Management and Budget.

The vacancy arises at the end of the month due to the announced resignation of Richard Cordray, the first and only head of the consumer bureau, who may run for governor of Ohio.

White House spokeswoman Natalie Strom told Government Executive on Friday that there is still no announcement on who will fill the vacancy.

The tapping of Mulvaney would be consistent with the hostility of both President Trump and many Republican lawmakers toward the agency created after the great recession under the 2010 Dodd-Frank Financial Reform Act.

“Mulvaney has never supported the mission of the CFPB—in fact, he’s called it a ‘sad joke’ and said he doesn’t think it should exist,” said Karl Frisch, executive director of the consumer group Allied Progress.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., considered the architect of the consumer bureau stood up in 2011, disparaged Mulvaney as a pick, tweeting that “A member of the GOP anarchy gang has no business running the agency. This is a giant middle finger to consumers.”

This wouldn’t be the first time Trump has asked appointees to double up. His choice to temporarily run the Internal Revenue Service following the scheduled departure last week of Commissioner John Koskinen is David Kautter, a tax lawyer who is working at the Treasury Department as assistant secretary for tax policy. The IRS, however, is nominally a part of Treasury, while the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is independent of the White House.

If Mulvaney “does end up taking on this role,” Frisch said in a statement, “he will have a statutory obligation to enforce the law which requires the CFPB to act in the best interest of consumers. Full stop.”

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