Senate Dems urge CFPB to reinstate advisory board

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Sen. Robert Menendez of New Jersey and 24 other Senate Democrats have urged acting Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Mick Mulvaney to reinstate members of the agency's consumer advisory board, who were fired last month, and to provide details on the firings.

The senators sent a letter to Mulvaney on Thursday asking for a detailed plan on how and when the CFPB will meet with the advisory board, which is mandated by the Dodd-Frank Act.

"By dismissing the [advisory board], the CFPB is deliberately rejecting statutorily required advice from qualified professionals who are volunteering their services to the American public, with no credible explanation as to why the present CAB members are not fulfilling their responsibilities," the letter said.

The CFPB fired the 25-member consumer advisory board and disbanded two other agency boards, the Community Bank Advisory Board and the Credit Union Advisory Board.

The CFPB did not return calls seeking comment.

Last month, the CFPB's policy adviser for external affairs, Anthony Welcher, who is a political appointee, said the agency planned to reconvene the three boards with new members, modify how panels operate and have smaller boards overall.

Members of the boards, who were appointed by former CFPB Director Richard Cordray, were all were terminated in June and told they could not reapply for their positions.

"Clarify through agency policy or through CAB's charter that CAB members shall be allowed to serve their full terms unless removed for inefficiency, neglect of duty, or malfeasance," the letter stated.

The letter asked Mulvaney to provide "a full accounting" of his schedule on five dates related to the board firings, and the names of all the people and groups that gave the CFPB feedback about the boards. Mulvaney was asked to respond by July 26.

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