The showdown at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is a perfect microcosm of the difficulty unraveling Obama’s rule by bureaucracy.

Two weeks ago, CFPB chair Richard Cordray announced his resignation. Cordray had run the rogue agency, accountable to no one, as his own personal liberal policy shop, doing little to meet the needs of consumers. Cordray didn’t stay the two weeks he’d originally planned.

Instead, he announced last minute (and a week before his scheduled departure) he was leaving immediately and named his Chief of Staff, Leandra English, as his interim successor. Doing so would, Cordray believed, deny Trump the opportunity to appoint his own interim director. But Trump is Trump and so he appointed his own interim director, Mick Mulvaney.

Leaving everyone working at the agency in the middle of an odd and probably uncomfortable spat:

English, the interim director appointed by outgoing director Cordray, has ignored the advisement of the executive branch and is going on with business as usual, using the title ‘Acting Director’.

Unmoved, a donut-wielding Mulvaney sent his own statement to CFPB employees saying:

“Please disregard any instructions you receive from Ms. English in her presumed capacity as Acting Director,” he said in a memo seen by Reuters. “If you receive additional communications from her today … please inform the General Counsel.”

Mulvaney also signed off as “acting director” and invited staff to pop by his office on the fourth floor to “grab a donut.”

Enter Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who championed the creation of the CFPB which has since been her own personal pet.

Friday, Warren feverishly dug into agency bylaws to contest Trump’s ability to appoint his own interim director:

Sen. Warren is expected to meet with English Monday afternoon.

General counsel for the CFPB disagrees with Warren on this one. Interestingly, they’ve sided with the Justice Department in agreeing Trump has the authority to point his own interim director. Sunday, English filed a complaint and temporary restraining order against Trump and Mulvaney, respectively, over what she believes is her legal right to lead the agency until Congress confirms the next permanent director.

Politico reports:

In a memorandum obtained by POLITICO, CFPB general counsel Mary McLeod said Trump had the legal authority to name an acting director to the bureau under the Federal Vacancies Reform Act.

“It is my legal opinion that the president possesses the authority to designate an acting director for the bureau,” McLeod wrote in the Nov. 25 memo to the CFPB leadership team. “I advise all bureau personnel to act consistently with the understanding that Director Mulvaney is the acting director of the CFPB.”

Yet even as McLeod’s memo was circulating, Leandra English, former CFPB Director Richard Cordray’s choice to serve as acting director of the watchdog agency, sued the Trump administration in U.S District Court in Washington.

In her lawsuit filed late Sunday, English named Trump and Mulvaney as defendants and asked the court to establish her authority as acting director.

“Ms. English has a clear entitlement to the position of acting director of the CFPB,” the filing claims. “The President’s purported or intended appointment of defendant Mulvaney as acting director of the CFPB is unlawful.”

No one is impressed:

They say this like it’s a bad thing:

The complaint:

Leandra English v. Trump – Complaint by Legal Insurrection on Scribd


Leandra English v. Trump – Motion for Temporary Restraining Order by Legal Insurrection on Scribd

And memo:

Leandra English v. Trump – Memo of Law in Support of Motion for Temporary Restraining Order by Legal Insurrection on Scribd

UPDATE – The Government’s Opposition

Leandra English v. Trump – Govt Opposition to Motion for Temporary Restraining Order by Legal Insurrection on Scribd


Donations tax deductible
to the full extent allowed by law.