Two Heads for One Agency Brings Unprecedented Confusion to the CFPB

In the wake of the departure of Richard Cordray as the head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, two appointments are clashing for leadership. Mike Mulvaney, the director of the White House Office of Budget and Management is President Donald Trump’s pick; and Leandra English, Cordray’s choice for head of the CFPB.

Mulvaney has been an outspoken critic of the CFPB. Although he stated that “Rumors that I’m going to set the place on fire or blow it up or lock the doors are completely false,” he has placed a 30-day freeze on hiring and creating new regulations as his first act as director. He also imposed a separate freeze on civil penalty payments.

During his first day on the job Mulvaney met with senior staff and other employees at the bureau, but he did not have any contact with English. He has not tried to fire her either, although she filed a lawsuit against Trump and Mulvaney on Sunday, requesting that the court grant her the authority as director over the CFPB.

Mulvaney, a former representative from South Carolina, said Trump wants him to “get [the bureau] back to the point where it can protect people without trampling on capitalism.”

Mulvaney complained that the CFPB has unchecked power, but only Congress can change that, forgetting to add that Congress purposely created the CFPB as an entirely independent agency on purpose in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis which was caused in part by the unchecked influence financial institutions had on government bodies.

“It is a completely unaccountable agency, and I think that’s wrong,” Mulvaney said, adding later, “If the law allowed this place not to exist, I’d sit down with the president to try to make the case that other agencies can do this job well if not more effectively.”

Gail Nussbaum

Gail Nussbaum has been involved in politics and diplomacy for over 15 years. Her interest in foreign relations, economics and budget policy has led her to her position as fiscal policy writer at Left Justified. Gail can be contacted at gailnussbaum(at)

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