clear
Monday December 11th, 2017 6:30AM

2 fight for control of consumer watchdog; judge yet to rule

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

WASHINGTON (AP) — With emails, tweets and doughnuts, the two dueling acting directors battled for control of the nation's top financial watchdog agency, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, on Monday.

Leandra English, who was elevated to interim director of the bureau late last week by its outgoing director, sent staff an email offering Thanksgiving wishes. President Donald Trump's choice for the role — White House budget director Mick Mulvaney — then emailed staff to tell them to "disregard" any instructions from English.

Laying down markers in what has quickly become a war of optics, both signed their missives "Acting Director."

English has filed a lawsuit seeking a temporary restraining order to block Mulvaney from taking over the bureau. Judge Timothy Kelly, a Trump appointee approved recently by the Senate, heard arguments on the case late Monday afternoon but didn't immediately rule.

The judge said he'll read the government's response once it's filed and "go from there."

Mulvaney, speaking to reporters at the bureau, announced he was imposing a 30-day freeze on hiring and new rulemaking. Despite previous comments calling the agency a "joke" and an example of bureaucracy run amok, he said the bureau would remain functioning.

"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 said. "I am a member of the executive branch of government. We intend to execute the laws of the United States."

Mulvaney said the day went smoothly, though he noted the power struggle may be awkward for people who know English. Responding to news reports about the conflicting leadership, he said, "There was one person today who showed up at work claiming to be director. She wasn't here."

Meanwhile, in a show of support, top Senate Democrats including Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, met with English.

Earlier in the day, it was a battle of optics as Mulvaney and English jostled for control via emails, tweets and doughnuts.

Mulvaney arrived Monday morning at the agency with doughnuts, and his staff tweeted out photos of him meeting with agency division heads. Meanwhile, English sent a department-wide email saying she hoped everyone had a great Thanksgiving.

Meanwhile, Mulvaney quickly responded to English's email, instructing CFPB staff to "disregard" any directives from her.

English was promoted from chief of staff to deputy director by Richard Cordray as he prepared to resign last Friday. Cordray was appointed to the position by President Barack Obama and has been long criticized by congressional Republicans for being overzealous but lauded by consumer advocates for aggressively going after banks for wrongdoing, like in the case of Wells Fargo. He was one of the last Obama-era political holdouts.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said at Monday's briefing that Mulvaney has "taken charge" of the bureau and has the "full cooperation" of the staff.

At the center of the controversy are two laws: the Dodd-Frank Act, the law passed after the financial crisis that created the bureau, and the Federal Vacancies Reform Act, which gives the president authority to appoint temporary department heads while their permanent nominees are approved by the Senate.

While the Vacancies Act does allow a president to appoint acting directors at agencies like the CFPB, the Dodd-Frank Act has specific language that seems to indicate that only a deputy director can step into the acting director position. English was elevated to the deputy director position shortly before Cordray resigned.

But English's push to be recognized as the legitimate acting director took a blow Monday after a memo was released from Mary McLeod, the CFPB's general counsel, saying she agreed with the White House that Mulvaney should be recognized as acting director.

The Office of Legal Counsel, which acts as a legal adviser to the president, also argued that Mulvaney, not English, was the legitimate director of the department.

One straightforward solution to the issue of who runs the CFPB is for Trump to nominate his own permanent director. But it may take several weeks for someone to be nominated and even months until the Senate were to confirm his or her appointment.

Until the issue of who is in charge is cleared up, any actions taken by the CFPB are likely to come under legal scrutiny from the banks, credit card and other financial companies that the agency oversees. No fines are likely to be imposed or new regulations written.

___

Sweet reported from New York. Associated Press writer Julie Carr Smyth contributed from Columbus, Ohio.

  • Associated Categories: U.S. News, Associated Press (AP), AP National News, AP Online National News, Top U.S. News short headlines, Top General short headlines, AP Online Headlines - Washington, AP Online Congress News, AP Business, AP Business - Consumer News
© Copyright 2017 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
2 fight for control of consumer watchdog; judge yet to rule
The two dueling acting directors of the nation's top financial watchdog agency are jostling to take control using emails, tweets and doughnuts as the fight moves to a district court
6:52PM ( 15 minutes ago )
Judge: Doctor who doesn't use computer can't regain license
A New Hampshire judge has denied an 84-year-old doctor's request to regain her license to practice, which she had surrendered partly over her inability to use a computer
6:50PM ( 17 minutes ago )
The Latest: No ruling yet on who's leader of watchdog agency
A federal court hearing on a lawsuit over who is rightfully the acting director of the nation's top financial watchdog agency has concluded without any ruling
6:49PM ( 18 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Trump, honoring Navajos, revives 'Pocohontas' jab at Warren
President Donald Trump has used an event honoring Native American veterans to take a shot at Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren, whom he has long derided as "Pocahontas."
5:56PM ( 1 hour ago )
Powell, in prepared remarks, backs further slow rate hikes
Jerome Powell, Trump's nominee as Fed chairman, supports gradual rate hikes and appropriate deregulation
5:38PM ( 1 hour ago )
2 fight for control of consumer watchdog; court to weigh in
The two dueling acting directors of the nation's top financial watchdog agency are jostling to take control using emails, tweets and doughnuts as the fight moves to a district court
5:31PM ( 1 hour ago )
AP National News
Royal romance: Prince Harry, Meghan Markle to wed next year
Newly engaged Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are lifting the veil of secrecy that shrouded their 18-month romance, revealing in their first joint interview that they met on a blind date and that Harry proposed over a roast chicken dinner
5:04PM ( 2 hours ago )
The Latest: Harry, Markle hope to start a family
Prince Harry says he and Meghan Markle hope to start family in the future
4:05PM ( 3 hours ago )
Who's in charge? 2 fight for control of US consumer watchdog
Dueling acting directors are fighting for control of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, with one selected by President Donald Trump and the other hand-picked by the outgoing director
4:04PM ( 3 hours ago )
Top General short headlines
CNN's Blitzer fights back against Trump's attack
CNN used its airtime Monday to fight back against the latest attack by President Donald Trump, who over the weekend tweeted that the network's international division represents the U.S. poorly to the world
5:49PM ( 1 hour ago )
The Latest: Report says GOP bill would hurt poorer Americans
Congressional analysts find that many low- and middle-income Americans would be left worse off by the Republican tax bill now before the Senate, while the wealthy would get big benefits
5:23PM ( 1 hour ago )
The Latest: Congressman says suits resolved without payment
Democratic congressman Al Green of Texas says he resolved a decade-old dispute with a former employee without payment
5:14PM ( 1 hour ago )
AP Online Headlines - Washington
Attorney: Giarnforte spokesman lied about attack on reporter
An attorney for a reporter assaulted by a Montana congressman on the eve of his election says the lawmaker's spokesman lied when he said "no one was misled" by the Republican's initial denials
4:07PM ( 3 hours ago )
US criticizes plans to weaken Romania anti-corruption fight
The U.S. State Department expresses concern about planned legislation it says could weaken Romania's fight to root out corruption
3:48PM ( 3 hours ago )
The Latest: GOP senators meet with Trump to talk tax plan
A group of Republican senators appears optimistic after meeting with President Donald Trump about a GOP-led tax plan
3:04PM ( 4 hours ago )
AP Online Congress News
Challenger holds surprise lead in Honduras presidential vote
The main challenger to Honduras' president has an unexpected lead in early returns from the presidential election, but officials have stopped releasing results and the ruling party is claiming victory while readying its supporters to take to the streets
5:36PM ( 1 hour ago )
Michigan, Enbridge reach deal to boost safety of pipelines
Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder and Canadian oil transport company Enbridge Inc. have reached an agreement on a timeline for determining the future of twin pipelines beneath the channel where Lakes Huron and Michigan converge
4:55PM ( 2 hours ago )
Energy firms lead US stocks mostly lower as oil prices slip
A sluggish day of trading on Wall Street finished Monday with stocks edging mostly lower as investors came back from the Thanksgiving holiday
4:49PM ( 2 hours ago )
AP Business
The Latest: White House says Mulvaney is proper CFPB chief
The White House is releasing legal memos in an effort to justify President Donald Trump's selection of Budget Director Mick Mulvaney to serve as acting head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
2:09PM ( 5 hours ago )
The Latest: Dueling acting directors at consumer agency
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is kicking off the day with dueling acting directors
12:31PM ( 6 hours ago )
Suit seeks to stop Trump from naming acting director of CFPB
The government official President Donald Trump wants to pass over as acting director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is asking a federal court to block the president's appointment
3:21AM ( 15 hours ago )
AP Business - Consumer News
The Latest: No ruling yet on who's leader of watchdog agency
A federal court hearing on a lawsuit over who is rightfully the acting director of the nation's top financial watchdog agency has concluded without any ruling
6:49PM ( 19 minutes ago )
Trump, honoring Navajos, revives 'Pocahontas' jab at Warren
President Donald Trump has used an event honoring Native American veterans to take a shot at Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren, whom he has long derided as "Pocahontas."
6:43PM ( 25 minutes ago )
Senators consider automatic tax hikes if revenue falls short
Senate Republicans are considering a trigger that would automatically increase taxes if their tax package doesn't generate as much revenue as they expect
6:40PM ( 28 minutes ago )
Trump straddle: Won't stump for Moore, yet blasts Dem foe
A White House official says President Donald Trump will not campaign for Republican Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore before the Dec. 12 special election
6:35PM ( 34 minutes ago )
IOC judges back truthful whistleblower, ban 5 more Russians
In a blow to the credibility of Russia's denials that it operated state-backed Olympic doping, an IOC judging panel has endorsed a key whistleblower and the investigator who exposed the plot
6:27PM ( 41 minutes ago )