The battle over who is going to head up the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau following the retirement of its first director, Richard Cordray, appears to be another victory for Trump, who seems to be winning a lot lately.
The drama began when Cordray, who was appointed by President Barack Obama via recess appointment, set up his chief of staff, Leandra English, to succeed him.
But a savvy President Trump ignored Cordray’s action and appointed Mick Mulvaney acting director, prompting a court challenge from English because the CFPB was set up to be independent and Mulvaney’s also director of the Office of Management and Budget.
The CFPB is the brainchild of Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who echoed English’s argument.
As for independence, the agency was founded during the Obama administration with the hiring of the senior management team controlled by Warren — independent in the eyes of Democrats means independent from Republicans.
Elizabeth Warren came up with the idea for a Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. She fought for it. She created it. And now she’s fighting to defend it. pic.twitter.com/Kfeyt4Ngnj
— Ben Wikler (@benwikler) November 28, 2017
Three provisions in the Dodd-Frank Act, passed in 2010 when Democrats controlled both chambers of Congress and the White House, effectively assured the GOP would have little influence over the CFPB even if when in the majority, wrote The Weekly Standard’s Ronald Rubin.
The provisions took the funding of the bureau out of the hands of Congress, restricting the president’s ability to fire the director and allowed a director to remain indefinitely until the Senate confirmed a replacement — the Senate filibuster rules in 2010 enabled 41 senators to block a confirmation vote.
And while the Democrats, under Harry Reid, would change the filibuster rules, they were hoping “to overcome Republicans’ razor-thin Senate majority and block Trump nominees until 2018, regain control of the Senate in the midterm elections, and continue blocking until the 2020 presidential election,” Rubin said.
Thus, Cordray hand picking his successor.
Rubin likened the scenario to the classic narrative of a rent-controlled apartment.
“Democrats passed a law that made it nearly impossible to evict the bureau’s director, illegally installed a family member, and pocketed his under-the-table kickbacks for years. Like many rent-controlled tenants, Cordray tried to transfer his rights to another relative by making her a co-occupant before he passed on. President Trump, a savvy New York City landlord, understood the game and moved Mulvaney into the empty director’s office first.”
And U.S. District Judge Timothy J. Kelly’s “likely” denial of the plaintiff’s motion for a preliminary injunction in English v. Trump is sure to trump the Democrat scheme.
As Rubin noted, Warren’s reverence for the CFPB’s independence will end just as soon as “the agency is officially independent from her.”
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