Consumer Financial Protection Bureau acting director Mick Mulvaney is using the agency’s structure as an excuse to refuse to answer questions about his leadership.
According to American Banker, Mulvaney declined to answer questions Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass. and other Democrats have posed in previous letters, and even suggested that the questions might be based on incorrect or unreliable information.
“I could go through the almost eleven pages of single-spaced allegations of all that has supposedly gone wrong at the Bureau under my leadership,” Mulvaney said. “As you can imagine, I have a very different take on what is actually happening at the Bureau (and, tellingly, my information is based on being here and does not rely on sources such as leaked — and sometimes probably false — materials).”
Mulvaney goes on to say that he also felt frustrated with former CFPB Director Richard Cordray when he was in Congress and suggested that the structure of the agency is to blame.
“When I served on the House Committee on Financial Services as a Member of Congress, I was frequently frustrated with what I perceived to be a lack of responsiveness, transparency and accountability at the Bureau,” Mulvaney wrote. “I encourage you to consider the possibility that the frustration you are experiencing now, and that which I had a few years back, are both inevitable consequences of the fact that [the Dodd-Frank Act] insulates the Bureau from virtually any accountability.”
Warren, who founded the CFPB, has been a vocal critic of Mulvaney since he was appointed acting director by President Donald Trump. She has previously sent letters requesting additional information on a number of Mulvaney’s decisions, including reconsidering the payday rule and limits placed on staff members to access or acquire digital data, among other issues. Warren said in her most recent letter that 105 of her questions remain unanswered.
Earlier this year, Mulvaney complained about Warren’s correspondence: “We get about one letter a week from her and she asks me why I have done what I have done,” he said. “We are progressively moving to a response that I want to send her, which is essentially to say, look, if you don’t like what I am doing, complain to the person who wrote the statute.”
In his current letter, Mulvaney said he is “trying to improve on the Bureau’s record” of transparency and accountability, but that “none of that will change the Bureau’s DNA, which is the Dodd-Frank Act that created it. Only by changing the oversight requirements can the Bureau truly be made permanently accountable and transparent.”
He finished the letter by stating he is “looking forward” to discussing these concerns when he testifies before the Senate Banking Committee later this month.