The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is the federal regulator charged with policing the predatory behavior of banks, payday lenders, student loan servicers, and all manner of other financial institutions that have a habit of ripping off customers.
Mick Mulvaney is the deeply conservative and rhetorically inept former congressman from South Carolina who now serves as Donald Trump’s budget director. You may remember him from the time he told reporters that Meals on Wheels “doesn’t work.” Or his flailing attempts to redefine the word compassion to mean cutting programs that help the elderly. He is also, generally, not a fan of regulations or regulators, and especially not the CFPB. “I don’t like the fact that CFPB exists, I will be perfectly honest with you,” Mulvaney once said during a House committee hearing. He also co-sponsored a bill to eliminate the bureau.
And now, it seems he will have an opportunity to weaken it from the inside. According to CBS News, President Trump is preparing to name Mulvaney the CFPB’s interim director. He will replace current director Richard Cordray, who is stepping down at the end of the month, possibly to to run for governor in Ohio. The official announcement could come “as soon as Friday.”
Leaving the CFPB in the hands of a man who would like to do away with it obviously bodes poorly for the bureau’s future. Mulvaney’s appointment may only be temporary, but he will likely begin the process of substantially weakening the agency. The move is also, of course, very Trumpian—akin to putting oil shill Scott Pruitt in charge of the Environmental Protection Agency or tapping Rick Perry to lead the Department of Energy after he called for its demise. This is one more step in the destruction of the administrative state through appointments. The brazenness of it would make you laugh if you weren’t already crying.