Advocacy group sues CFPB, OMB for Kraninger's records

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A consumer watchdog filed a lawsuit Wednesday against the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the Office of Management and Budget for allegedly failing to provide employment records and emails on Kathy Kraninger, President Trump's nominee to lead the CFPB.

Allied Progress, a nonprofit advocacy group, said in a lawsuit that it is seeking to compel the agencies to respond to a June Freedom of Information Act request seeking documents on Kraninger's record in government.

The group alleges the two agencies failed to grant expedited processing of the FOIA request, failed to conduct an adequate search for responsive records and withheld nonexempt records.

Allied Progress filed a FOIA on June 18 requesting all personnel records and documents associated with Kraninger's employment at OMB, where she is a top official, including performance reviews, disciplinary actions and salary information. The group also sought to get a copy of Kraninger's calendar including invites, notes and attachments created in Outlook.

At her nomination hearing last week, Kraninger declined to answer a host of questions from Democratic senators about her day-to-day job at OMB and what role she may have played in the Trump administration's "zero tolerance" policy of separating migrant children from their parents at the border.

Allied Progress asked for all emails between Kraninger and acting CFPB Director Mick Mulvaney and a dozen political appointees who are managing the CFPB. Mulvaney currently holds two jobs in the Trump administration, heading both the consumer bureau and management and budget office.

Kraninger is a program associate director for general government programs at OMB with oversight of seven executive branch agencies, including the Department of Homeland Security and the Justice Department.

The consumer group also asked for all emails sent by or to Kraninger from 18 entities, including more than a dozen payday and installment lenders and trade groups. The group said the CFPB assigned it a FOIA a tracking number, but failed to respond to its request for documents.

"Allied Progress has constructively exhausted its administrative remedies," the group said in a lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

Separately, two different consumer groups sent a letter Wednesday to Mark Bialek, the CFPB's inspector general, calling for an investigation into Mulvaney's relationship with payday lenders.

Lisa Donner, executive director of Americans for Financial Reform, and Michael Zucker, the director of Change to Win-Retail Initiatives Group, said in a complaint that Mulvaney has violated ethics regulations.

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Enforcement Kathy Kraninger Mick Mulvaney CFPB