Mick Mulvaney, Donald Trump’s head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and the guy who gets killed through his own greed and stupidity an hour into a Coen Brothers movie, is at it again!
Mulvaney has spent the past few months slowing or entirely stopping the CFPB’s activities, and otherwise making a mockery of the bureau’s whole existence. Yesterday, as part of this job that he should not have, Mulvaney submitted the agency’s semi-annual report to Congress, and his attached message was a real disgrace.
In the message, Mulvaney said the CFPB “is far too powerful, and with precious little oversight of its activities.” He made the slightly bizarre claim that the role of CFPB director is somehow a violation of constitutional checks and balances, going as far as to quote the Federalist Papers to bolster his point, and saying the CFPB director serves as a legislature, judiciary and president all in one. (It doesn’t!) He claimed, for example, that the director is a “one-man legislature empowered to write rules to bind parties in new ways.” (That is not true—as with other agencies, CFPB rules have to go through the standard rulemaking process, including comment periods.) He described the agency as “primed to ignore due process and abandon the rule of law in favor of bureaucratic fiat and administrative absolutism.” Yes, the man who got the CFPB job in what was essentially a coup and used his power to largely shutter the agency is now worried about bureaucratic fiat.
Mulvaney made four requests to Congress in the report:
- “Fund the Bureau through Congressional appropriations,” instead of through the Federal Reserve, a system designed to insulated it from political interference.
- “Require legislative approval of major Bureau rules” which is... not how the US government works? Congress legislates and gives agencies authority to make rules and then they do that; Dodd-Frank gave the CFPB authority to make rules and that’s what the CFPB does, or did. Go back to civics class, pal!
- “Ensure that the Director answers to the President in the exercise of executive authority.” As the New York Times points out, as it stands, “the director can be removed by the president only for specific and justifiable cause, rather than for political or other reasons.” Can’t have that!
- “Create an independent Inspector General for the Bureau.” Oh, NOW you want it to be independent? A likely tale!!!
Mulvaney will testify to Congress about the state of the CFPB next week. I hope Elizabeth Warren makes him cry.