By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Monday, November 27, 2017, Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall joined four other attorney generals in a letter today to President Donald Trump and U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions declaring their confidence in the President’s authority to appoint an acting director for the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).
Obama appointee, CFPB Director Richard Cordray resigned over the weekend. Trump then appointed Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director Mick Mulvaney to take over as acting director. Richard Cordray however had appointed his chief of staff, Leandra English, as the deputy director of the CFPB. She now claims that makes her the acting director. On Sunday night Ms. English sued President Trump in order to block Mulvaney from taking over as acting director of the agency.
“This illegal power grab by the last vestiges of the Obama administration must be stopped,” General Marshall said. “The people of the United States voted for a President who would fight for the American people, roll back inefficient regulations, and create jobs. That President is Donald Trump, not the Obama-appointed outgoing director of the CFPB.”
The attorney generals note that, “The need for efficient administration within the Executive Branch—particularly for an agency like the CFPB whose actions have significant, national consequences—strongly weighs in favor of [a statutory] interpretation that gives the President authority to designate a temporary Acting Director of the CFPB . . . . Indeed, the opposite result would allow an unelected outgoing agency director to choose a temporary successor who may be at odds with the Executive Branch’s understanding of the agency’s mission and statutory mandate—and thereby continue the CFPB’s practice of overreaching regulation that harms the interests of consumers and small financial institutions.”
Cordray told MSNBC’s Rachel Madow: “The law is clear here. It says that the director, that was me on Friday, shall appoint a deputy director. I did that.” Cordray said that the controversial Dodd-Frank Act, which created the consumer protection agency, is unequivocal on this point. “It then says very clearly and simply that if the deputy director is there is an absence, the deputy director becomes the acting director.”
The White House and Justice Department, however, say that appointing Mulvaney was within the president’s authority under the Vacancies Act.
Cordray told Madow, “This is the kind of disagreement that involves two different laws. They conflict with one another. The right place to hash that out is in the courts, which is where it is now. It shouldn’t be decided by name calling and tweets and insults. It should be decided by people presenting their arguments and a judge thinking over.”
Both Mulvaney and English currently claim to head the CFPB.
Cordray is reportedly running for Governor of Ohio.
While a member of Congressman, Mulvaney (sponsored bills to eliminate the CFPB, which he has called a “sick, sad joke” with no reason to exist. On Monday, he instituted a 30-day hiring and regulatory freeze.
The controversial CFPB was created after the 2008 Great Recession to “provide a single point of accountability for enforcing consumer financial laws and protecting consumers in the financial marketplace.”
Pres. Trump said on Twitter, “The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, or CFPB, has been a total disaster as run by the previous Administrations pick. Financial Institutions have been devastated and unable to properly serve the public. We will bring it back to life!”
(Original reporting by The Hill and Fox News contributed to this report.)