Mulvaney: I am not 'gutting' the CFPB

The acting director hits back at those who accuse him of hobbling the consumer watchdog

Mulvaney: I am not 'gutting' the CFPB

In an editorial for USA Today, Mick Mulvaney has denied that he is “gutting” the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Mulvaney, the acting director of the CFPB, has faced criticism from many quarters for having a lighter regulatory hand than his predecessor, Richard Cordray. A Feb. 2 article on the Money Magazine website accused Mulvaney of gutting the agency. The article pointed to a change in the CFPB’s mission statement following Mulvaney’s appointment as acting director: the addition of the phrase “identifying and addressing outdated, unnecessary, or unduly burdensome regulations” to its list of goals.

“So apparently, one of the CFPB’s primary functions is now to deregulate the consumer finance industry,” Stephanie Robinson, a partner in the consumer financial services group at Mayer Brown, told the magazine.

But Mulvaney said that the accusation that he is gutting the agency is motivated by political animus, not objective fact.

“It fits a certain narrative – pushed by people who cannot accept the fact that Donald Trump is president,” Mulvaney wrote in USA Today. “There is a problem with the claim, however: It is just flatly wrong.”

Mulvaney admitted that he meant to change the CFPB, but said that such changes were common when new administrations appointed new leadership. He also said that he intended to run the agency with a lighter regulatory hand – but said such an approach was necessary given the agency’s lack of accountability to other sectors of government.

“The CFPB is one of the most – if not the most – powerful federal agencies in existence,” Mulvaney wrote. “It is also the least transparent or accountable. As director, I have almost total control over regulations and access to virtually unlimited funds. … If I am going to run a government agency like that, I am going to do it with humility toward those we serve, prudence in the exercise of our authority and respect for the law. I hope we never see a time when that equates to ‘gutting.’”


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