When White House Budget Director Mick Mulvaney was installed as the acting head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau by President Trump as a hit job on the Obama-era financial regulatory agency, Mulvaney railed against the management of the agency, declared it “wasteful spending,” and submitted a quarterly budget request of exactly zero dollars to run the bureau, as he looked to bleed the regulator into non-existence.
Meanwhile, public records requests by the Associated Press and New York Times show Mulvaney has hired at least eight political appointees at salaries that far exceed their previous pay elsewhere in the government and, according to the AP, are “more than the salaries of members of Congress, cabinet secretaries, and nearly all federal judges apart from those who sit on the Supreme Court.” Four of Mulvaney’s appointees are making $259,500 a year and one is making $239,595, according to records reviewed by the AP.
• Kirsten Mork was earning $167,300 with Rep. Jeb Hensarling on the House Financial Services Committee, but got a $90,000 (55 percent) raise to $259,500 as chief of staff of the CFPB.
Mork is also being paid nearly $50,000 more than her predecessor in the job.
• Brian Johnson made $164,600 also working for the House Financial Services Committee and was given a substantial raise 45 percent raise to $239,595 as a senior advisor at CFPB.
• Eric Blankenstein made $153,730 as a lawyer for the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative; now he earns $259,500 to oversee supervision, enforcement and fair lending for the CFPB, amounting to a $100,000 or 68 percent pay raise.
• Sheila Greenwood earned $179,700 a year at the Department of Housing and Urban Development; now she makes $259,500, a 44 percent hike.
The CFPB, like some other government agencies, including the Federal Reserve, which oversees the consumer bureau, pay higher salaries than the general federal government pay scale, where the top salary is $134,776 before some cost of living adjustments. Salaries at the Fed top out at $250,000. The reasoning behind the discrepancy is that some areas of the government need to pay higher salaries to attract top talent in certain fields. As such, of the CFP’s 1,600 employees, according to a record review by the Times, 219 make more than $200,000.
“Non-career staff are being paid on par with the career staff who directly report to them,” a spokeswoman for the consumer bureau, said in a written statement the Times. She also blamed the salary scale on the previous director.