Mulvaney laments ‘activists’ on CFPB staff

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WASHINGTON — The acting head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau said on Monday he is “pleasantly surprised” with agency staff, but he raised concerns about a minority of “activists” who he said lean toward the regulatory philosophy of Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., the agency's original architect.

There are a “small group of people who really are sort of ideologues and activists” with the “Elizabeth Warren views of the world that lending money for profit is evil,” the acting director, Mick Mulvaney, said during an Independent Community Bankers of America conference in Washington.

With some personnel sympathizing more with Warren's approach, Mulvaney said one of his challenges is combating "leaks."

For months, Mulvaney and Warren have butted heads through public statements in which Warren has challenged the direction of the CFPB under its temporary leader. In his latest response to an inquiry by Warren, Mulvaney said he “does not rely on sources such as leaked — and sometimes provably false — material.”

The debate will likely reach a crescendo on Thursday when Mulvaney testifies before the Senate Banking Committee in one of his two appearances on Capitol Hill this week.

“I don’t want us to be Elizabeth Warren’s baby,” Mulvaney said during the banking conference.

Despite Mulvaney’s concerns about leaks, he said his perspective on the agency has changed from his days in the House, when the Financial Services Committee had “an adversarial relationship” with former CFPB Director Richard Cordray.

"My perspective was the place was completely rotten to the core,” but “my experience up to this point has been that the overwhelming majority of the folks there are really good, for lack of a better word, bureaucrats,” Mulvaney said. “Some of the best legal work I’ve seen in my whole career has come out of the legal department at the CFPB.”

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