Acting head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), Mick Mulvaney, is coming under fire by Senator Elizabeth Warren over limits placed on staff members to access or acquire digital data.
Shortly after Mulvaney was appointed acting director by President Donald Trump, Mulvaney instituted a freeze on the collection of any personal data by the CFPB staff, due to security issues that were highlighted in reports from the Federal Reserve and the CFPB inspector general. But as Senator Warren argued in a letter to Mulvaney last week – as reported by American Banker – the inability to collect data impaired the staff members' abilities to do their jobs.
“The CFPB cannot fulfill its core functions without collecting personally identifiable information,” Warren stated in the letter. “Given how integral these data are to these basic CFPB functions, I fear that the freeze in data collection has in practice fundamentally changed how the CFPB interacts with its regulated entities, particularly in the Division of Supervision, Enforcement and Fair Lending. My staff has obtained internal CFPB documents that confirm these fears.”
The senator noted that the data freeze stopped agency lawyers from looking over electronic evidence that was found in discovery. Warren argued that the freeze hurts the CFPB and consumers more than the data security issues brought to light by the general inspector.
“Director Mulvaney claims that the cybersecurity issues at the agency are so serious that it justifies ignoring congressional mandates, but the IG reports on which he bases his claims demonstrate that the agency's cybersecurity policies are robust and any problems with them are not nearly serious enough to support the action Director Mulvaney has taken,” Warren wrote. “In any case, the IG did not recommend halting the collection of data as a result of his findings.”