Trump Administration's CFPB Pick Backed by District Judge

Trump Administration's CFPB Pick Backed by District Judge

A US federal judge denied on Wednesday a preliminary injunction sought by the deputy director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau seeking to stop White House budget director Mick Mulvaney from taking control of the agency.

Judge Timothy Kelly of the U.S. District Court in the District of Columbia wrote in his decision that English was unable to show the likelihood of success on the merits or that she would suffer irreparable injury in case the injunction would not be granted.

Trump tapped Mulvaney, who also serves as director of the White House Office of Management and Budget, to lead the CFPB on an interim basis after Cordray's departure.

English has claimed she is the lawful director of the CFPB, having been appointed as deputy director by former CFPB Director Richard Cordray in late November.

Mick Mulvaney speaking at CPAC 2011
Mick Mulvaney speaking at CPAC 2011

In denying the request for an injunction, Kelly found that the Dodd-Frank language did not override the president's powers under the FVRA and thus that English's claim was not likely to be granted. Other structural features meant to protect that independence - such as the fact that the CFPB receives funding through the Federal Reserve instead of Congress, and the limits on the president's ability to remove the director - remained in place, the judge wrote, and Mulvaney's appointment was by definition temporary.

English has so far lost two arguments in federal court, both to the same judge.

A lawyer for English, Deepak Gupta, expressed disappointment at Kelly's decision. English has served in number of senior leadership roles at the CFPB, including deputy chief operating officer, acting chief of staff, and deputy chief of staff. She seeks a preliminary injunction that would restrain the President from appointing an acting Director other than her, require the President to withdraw Mulvaney's appointment, and prohibit Mulvaney from serving as acting Director.

When President Trump then appointed outspoken CFPB critic Mulvaney to head the organization, the stage was set for turmoil and controversy in the months to come. The oral arguments on that case were heard on Friday morning. At the time even the CFPB's own general counsel said the law was on the President's side, but it was clear that a protracted legal battle lay ahead.

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