Trump Places OMB Head Mick Mulvaney As Interim CFPB Head

In the wake of Richard Cordray stepping down from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), President Donald Trump has tapped White House budget director Mick Mulvaney to step in on an interim basis. Mulvaney will take over when Cordray officially steps down later this month.

The move is expected to be announced today (November 16).

Mulvaney will not leave his current job as director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). Once a permanent replacement for Cordray is named and appointed by the Senate, Mulvaney will return to the OMB.

This is the first time the Trump administration has used current political appointees to fill regulatory posts. Assistant Secretary of the United States Treasury for Tax Policy David Kautter will take on the position of head of the IRS on an interim basis when confirmed Commissioner John Koskinen steps down.

“The administration will announce an acting director and the President’s choice to replace Mr. Cordray at the appropriate time,” White House Spokesman Raj Shah said on Thursday.

The change of position will mean Mulvaney will need to report to a building a stone’s throw from where he currently works, as Mulvaney’s current offices are across the street from the CFPB’s headquarters in downtown Washington. He is an interesting choice to head the consumer watchdog group, considering that at his confirmation, he referred to the CFPB as “one of the most offensive concepts” in the U.S. government and that he stood by an earlier comment describing it as a “sad, sick joke.”

Given his apparent hostility to the organization, the appointment might cause some confrontation with CFPB officials, who had expected Acting Deputy Director David Silberman to temporarily run the Bureau.

Supporters of the CFPB’s current leadership say provisions in the law set up Silberman for taking over temporarily, leaving it under the control of Obama-era officials until Trump’s permanent pick is confirmed. But legals scholars have noted that the Dodd-Frank law does not specify the deputy director as next in line to serve in the event of a vacancy and that President Trump is within his normal constitutional powers to appoint whomever he likes.