On Monday, Mick Mulvaney, the acting director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, brought in doughnuts. Around the same time, Leandra English, the agency’s other acting director, sent an all-staff email thanking employees for their service.
And so it goes in a capital city defined by its dysfunction, at an agency where two public servants are messily and publicly vying to lead a controversial agency under constant political assault by Republicans. Ties between the Trump White House and the federal government’s top consumer financial watchdog agency were so frayed by the end of Thanksgiving weekend that hundreds of confused employees came to work not knowing who their director would be.
Of course, Trump’s nominee will eventually take control of the agency. Which is too bad, because Dodd-Frank has been very effective legislation and the CFPB has been one of its best parts:
As confusion reigned, Ms. English headed to Capitol Hill to meet with lawmakers about her plans. Among those lawmakers: Senator Elizabeth Warren, the Democrat of Massachusetts who proposed the bureau and helped set it up, according to a spokeswoman for Ms. Warren.
Mr. Mulvaney, for his part, dodged questions from consumer finance advocates as he carried in breakfast for at least a few employees on the 1,600-person payroll. There was no public trace of Ms. English, whose tenure as a low-profile public servant abruptly ended as she began to fight on behalf of the agency she helped found in 2011. Mr. Mulvaney has been openly critical of the agency, once calling it a “joke” and a “wonderful example of how a bureaucracy will function if it has no accountability to anybody.”
The two dueling directors embody widely differing visions regarding the future of the agency, which was established under the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act and adopted an aggressive agenda under the Obama administration, targeting financial companies for practices that it considers unfair or abusive. Those actions have resulted in nearly 30 million consumers collecting almost $12 billion in refunds and canceled debts.
But Dodd-Frank was just a neoliberal KLUDGE that didn’t provide any tangible benefits to anybody! And Obama should have used the secret formula that would have stopped Republicans from undermining the encorcement of statutes they don’t like when they take over the executive branch! (These are things people actually believe, sadly.)