Richard Cordray announced his resignation from the contentious Consumer Finance Protection Bureau (CFPB) two weeks ago. Friday, Cordray suddenly changed plans, and with no warning, left the agency a week before his scheduled departure date.

Prior to leaving, he appointed his Chief of Staff, Leandra English, to replace him as the Acting Director. The move was intended to fill the spot temporarily, forcing Trump to go through the confirmation process for a nominee, which could take months, before putting his own person in place.

But Trump didn’t wait, and appointed Mick Mulvaney as Acting Director and nominee. This sets up a turf war over who is Acting Director.

The New York Times reports:

President Trump on Friday named his budget director as the acting director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, moving to take control of the agency hours after its departing leader had taken steps to install his own choice for acting chief.

By the end of the night, an agency born of the financial meltdown — and one Republicans have tried to kill from the start — had dueling directors, and there was little sense of who actually would be in charge Monday morning.

The bureaucratic standoff began Friday afternoon when Richard Cordray, the Obama-appointed leader of the bureau, abruptly announced he would leave the job at the close of business, a week earlier than anticipated. He followed up with a letter naming his chief of staff, Leandra English, as the agency’s deputy director.

The announcement came with a twist. Under the law, he said, that appointment would make the new deputy director the agency’s acting director. The move was seen as an effort to delay Mr. Trump from appointing his own director, whose confirmation could take months.

The White House retaliated, saying that the budget director, Mick Mulvaney, who once characterized the consumer protection bureau as a “sad, sick joke,” would be running the agency. He would also keep his current job as head of the Office of Management and Budget.

Mr. Mulvaney said he would assume the additional role until a permanent successor was found.

The CFPB has long drawn the ire of Republicans for functioning as a rogue agency, accountable to no one. Unlike other agencies, the CFPB doesn’t rely on Congress for budget allocations, but runs its own books.

From its creation, the CFPB has been Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s pet. Trump’s stifling of Cordray’s post-departure plans left the Massachusetts Senator enraged:

Cordray’s resignation imperiled Warren’s legacy, but to replace Cordray not with his own appointee, but an agency head openly hostile to the CFPB almost ensures Warren’s greatest governmental accomplishment will be unraveled in the course of months.


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