Mick Mulvaney — the White House’s head of the Office of Budget and Management and the interim director of the CFPB (barring a court ruling that changes that) — has a new mission for the government agency that he is temporarily in charge of.
We know this because he wrote a new mission statement for it — 1,118 words distributed to the bureau’s staff yesterday (January 23). The vision outlined within, according to New York Times reporting, is a vision of a CFPB guided by “humility and prudence” and that will no longer “push the envelope” when it comes to jurisdiction and scope.
Mr. Mulvaney also noted that it is not his intention to shutter the bureau, because doing so would be against the law.
“When I arrived at CFPB, I told folks that despite what they might have heard, I had no intention of shutting down the Bureau,” Mr. Mulvaney wrote. “Indeed, the law doesn’t allow that, and as members of the Executive Branch we are charged with faithfully executing the laws.”
A more ringing endorsement has never been set to paper.
Mulvaney also attacked the record of his predecessor in the job, Richard Cordray, who left in late 2017.
Mr. Cordray, Mulvaney said, viewed the bureau as an agency of “good guys” fighting “bad guys” and tended to view himself as the “new sheriff in town.” Mulvaney, apparently, is ready to bring a new era of post-modern ethics to the job wherein concepts like "good" and "bad" are considered outdated.
Mr. Mulvaney made it clear that under his direction, the consumer bureau would be more reluctant to target companies without overwhelming evidence of wrongdoing and suggested that the effect on a business should be weighed more heavily.
“If a company closes its doors under the weight of a multiyear Civil Investigative Demand, you and I will still have jobs at the CFPB,” Mr. Mulvaney wrote. “But what about the workers who are laid off as a result?”
Mr. Mulvaney also said that the bureau would introduce more quantitative rigor when deciding to investigate and fine.
“In 2016, almost a third of the complaints into this office related to debt collection. Only 0.9% related to prepaid cards and 2% to payday lending. Data like that should, and will, guide our actions,” he wrote.