Senate Banking’s top Dem issues scathing assessment of CFPB’s Mulvaney

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Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, on Tuesday released a scathing report accusing acting Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Mick Mulvaney of undermining the agency's mission.

The report by the minority staff of the Senate Banking Committee also raised concern that the bureau could similarly be weakened by Kathy Kraninger, the administration's choice for permanent director who is awaiting Senate confirmation.

“Working families and seniors are suffering while Mulvaney does favors for corporate special interests,” Brown, who is the committee's top Democrat and has been mentioned as a possible presidential candidate, said in a press release. “Wall Street and the financial industry have armies of lobbyists at the beck and call — the CFPB was created to deliver results for American consumers.”

According to the findings by the panel's Democrats, Mulvaney "over and over again ... has used his position at the Consumer Protection Bureau to do favors for corporate special interests, rather than look out for the American people he’s supposed to serve."

The 36-page report, "Pushing the Envelope: The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau under the Trump Administration," was released before the full Senate is expected to vote soon on Kraninger, who is now a senior official at the Office of Management and Budget.

The report largely focuses on Mulvaney, the director of the budget office, but toward the end it criticizes Kraninger as well. The CFPB nominee once interned for Brown when he was a member of the House.

“Mr. Mulvaney has undermined the Bureau’s mission at nearly every turn, and President Trump’s pick to succeed him, Kathy Kraninger, has refused to repudiate any of Mr. Mulvaney’s actions,” the report stated. “President Trump should nominate a serious candidate, with real consumer protection experience and a genuine commitment to the Bureau’s mission, to lead the CFPB.”

The report lists several policies undertaken by Mulvaney, including plans to strip the agency's fair-lending office of its enforcement powers; halting examinations of financial firms for compliance with the Military Lending Act; dissolving the student lending office overseeing the $1.5 trillion student loan market; installing nearly a dozen political appointees to oversee day-to-day operations of the bureau; and threatening to end public access to the CFPB’s consumer complaints database.

The report also takes Mulvaney to take for refusing to respond to congressional requests for information. Although Mulvaney said he wanted to make the agency more transparent by using a cost-benefit analysis on rulemakings, the report said, the bureau under his watch has failed “to actually perform the quantitative cost-benefit analysis he called for.”

“Mr. Mulvaney has not shared any evidence of the cost-benefit analysis that he has championed in any of his decision-making,” the report said. “Mr. Mulvaney’s creation of a new cost-benefit analysis office directly under his control suggests that he intends to use the office in politically convenient ways to justify his longstanding desire to dismantle the CFPB’s consumer protections.”

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