CFPB Now Has Two Acting Directors

Posted On November 28, 2017

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Last Friday, outgoing Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) Director Richard Cordray announced he would be leaving his position at the end of the day instead of the end of the month.  In his written statement, he promoted his chief of staff Leandra English to deputy director and appointed her to serve as acting director.  Following Cordray’s appointment, President Donald Trump appointed Mick Mulvaney, director of the Office of Management and Budget, to serve as acting director.  On Sunday night, English filed a federal lawsuit against the Trump administration to block Mulvaney’s appointment.

Some Washington analysts believe Cordray’s appointment of English was an attempt to block Trump from immediately filling the position with a Republican.  Trump was expected to name Mulvaney as the acting director, however an official appointment had not yet been made.  In Cordray’s statement, he explained, “I have also come to recognize that appointing the current chief of staff to the deputy director position would minimize operational disruption and provide for a smooth transition given her operational expertise.” 

However, according to the Office of Legal Counsel, the CFPB director is an office to be filled by presidential appointment.  White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders cited the Federal Vacancies Reform Act of 1998, giving the authority to the appoint the acting director.  The CFPB’s general counsel Mary McLeod, agreed with the Trump administration, writing in a memo, “I advise all Bureau personnel to act consistently with the understanding that Director Mulvaney is the Acting Director of the CFPB.” 

According to English’s lawsuit, filed at the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, she is calling herself the “rightful acting director” of the CFPB.  She is asking for a temporary restraining order to block Mulvaney’s appointment. 


Sources: HousingWire, MarketWatch, National Mortgage Professional, Washington Post