A U.S. District Court judge in Washington ruled Tuesday in favor of President Donald Trump in his bid to install White House Budget Director Mick Mulvaney as acting director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).
Judge Timothy Kelly declined to stop, on an emergency basis, the president from making Mulvaney the acting director of the CFPB.
In doing so, Kelly ruled against Leandra English, the CFPB’s deputy director. English had requested an emergency restraining order to stop Mulvaney from becoming acting director, claiming the position was rightfully hers.
Mulvaney is a former small-business owner and congressman who once called the agency a “sick, sad” joke that should be abolished.
“This agency will stay open. Rumors that I’m going to set the place on fire or blow it up or lock the doors are completely false,” he told reporters on Monday. “I am a member of the executive branch of government. We intend to execute the laws of the United States.”
The battle over the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau boiled over last week.
Former Director Richard Cordray, criticized by conservative Republicans and business interests in Washington, abruptly resigned and named English, his chief of staff, as deputy director, meaning she would be his successor.
Trump countered by appointing Mulvaney, who opposes government regulations on business as much as Cordray believes they are essential.
2011 law cited
English had argued that the law that created the agency in 2011 clearly spelled out that she should be acting director. Her lawsuit against Mulvaney asked the court to deny the Trump administration’s claim that another law gave the president the power to name an acting director.
The White House and bureau lawyers, in turn, said there were precedents showing that Trump was authorized to fill temporary vacancies in federal agencies even when another law of succession might be on the books.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau was founded after the global financial crisis of 2008. Its job is to protect consumers against predatory lending and and other questionable practices by banks, credit card companies, lenders and debt collectors.
Republicans, including Mulvaney, have said the agency has too much power and loads down banks with too much bureaucracy.