Trump Wins Latest Battle Over CFPB Leadership

Judge Timothy Kelly says granting an injunction to remove Acting Director Mick Mulvaney would not provide the “clarity” needed in the matter.

1/11/2018 5:00 PM

Trump Wins Latest Battle Over CFPB Leadership

A federal judge has ruled against Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Deputy Director Leandra English for a second time in her case concerning leadership of the bureau.

Judge Timothy Kelly of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on Wednesday denied a request for a preliminary injunction to remove Mick Mulvaney as acting director of the bureau in the case English v. Trump et. al.

“The court finds that English is not likely to succeed on the merits of her claims, nor is she likely to suffer irreparable harm absent the injunctive relief sought,” Judge Kelly said in his 46-page decision.

The case centers on law governing who has the authority to appoint an interim director at the bureau— the president or the outgoing director. The saga started shortly after former director Richard Cordray resigned from the CFPB in November and promoted English from chief of staff to deputy director under the Dodd-Frank Act.

Not long after, President Donald Trump appointed Mick Mulvaney from his administration to take on the interim role of acting director while remaining  in his post as director of the Office of Budget and Management.

The Trump administration argues that its authority to appoint an interim director of the CFPB lies in the Federal Vacancies Reform Act.

The CFPB issued a statement on the court's decision: 

"We are pleased that the court has confirmed – again – that Mick Mulvaney is the rightful and appropriate acting director of the Bureau. We look forward to getting on with making this Bureau more efficient, effective, and accountable to the American taxpayers and consumers everywhere," said Jennifer Howard, Assistant Director for the Office of Communications. "Acting Director Mulvaney appreciates the court's attention to this case and their thoughtful review of the facts."

English’s attorney, Deepak Gupta, said they are both “disappointed” with Judge Kelly’s decision on the preliminary injunction, according to The Los Angeles Times.

White House Principal Deputy Press Secretary Raj Shah issued a statement on Kelly’s ruling, according to the article.

“The administration is glad to see the courts once again recognize the president’s lawful designation,” Shah said. “The president looks forward to acting director Mulvaney’s continued work on behalf of American consumers.”

Judge Kelly also denied a request for a temporary restraining order in the case in November, a decision that could not be appealed, prompting the request for a preliminary injunction as the next step.

Judge Kelly highlighted in his decision the parties’ mutual request for clarity about the bureau’s leadership, “both for the CFPB’s sake and for that of the parties affected by its regulatory and enforcement activities,” but said that removing Mulvaney would not accomplish that goal. 

“There is little question that there is a public interest in clarity here, but it is hard to see how granting English an injunction would bring about more of it,” Judge Kelly said. “The president has designated Mulvaney the CFPB’s acting director, the CFPB has recognized him as the acting director, and it is operating with him as the acting director,” he said. “Granting English an injunction would not bring about more clarity; it would only serve to muddy the waters.”

Gupta has not indicated if English will appeal the recent decision.  ACA International will continue to provide updates on this developing story for its readers and members.

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