12/07/2017

Have You No Sense Of Decency, Senator Warren?

Ronald L. Rubin, Weekly Standard

This year’s strangest political story may be Elizabeth Warren’s attempted coup of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the federal agency created by the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act.

On the Friday after Thanksgiving, Richard Cordray, the CFPB’s outgoing director, attempted a variation of the play football teams use when going for touchdowns during game-ending kickoff returns. Cordray announced he was resigning at the end of the day on November 24, and he promoted his chief of staff, Leandra English, to deputy director. Citing a Dodd-Frank Act provision, “the Deputy Director ... shall serve as acting Director in the absence or unavailability of the Director,” he claimed his lateral pass to English made her the CFPB’s acting director before President Trump could use the Federal Vacancies Reform Act to appoint his own.

Within hours, the president ended Cordray’s keep-away game by appointing Budget Director Mick Mulvaney as acting director. Two days later, English filed an emergency motion in federal court to block the appointment. Warren and her progressive army launched a publicity counter-offensive. Her main weapon was a 2014 interview in which then-congressman Mulvaney discussed the CFPB’s likely unconstitutional “independence” (the president has limited ability to fire the director, and the agency’s funding is guaranteed through Federal Reserve Bank profits rather than the congressional appropriation process). Mulvaney described the bureaucracy’s unaccountability and non-compliance with congressional oversight as “a joke … in a sad, sick way.” Warren twisted the quote to “the CFPB is a sad, sick joke,” and said it was evidence that Mulvaney, like all Republicans, approved of banks ripping off consumers. Trump, she said, was disregarding the law and attempting to destroy the agency she had dreamed up in an article a decade earlier.

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