Mulvaney responds to Warren

Today’s Wall Street Journal publishes a letter to the editor by OMB Director and Acting Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) Director Mick Mulvaney. In the letter Mulvaney responds to the column by Senator Elizabeth Warren published in the Journal last week attacking his leadership of the CFPB. At NR, Ronald Rubin has another take on Warren’s column. Mulvaney’s letter seems to me a classic of the kind. I don’t think Mulvaney’s letter is subject to copyright and I am posting the whole thing below. Here it is:

I write to correct misrepresentations made by Sen. Elizabeth Warren in “Republicans Remain Silent as Mulvaney’s CFPB Ducks Oversight” (op-ed, March 29) regarding my leadership of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

She claimed that the planned restructuring of the Office of Fair Lending and Equal Opportunity ignores a congressional mandate that the office “shall have such powers and duties . . . including providing oversight and enforcement of Federal laws.” In fact, Sen. Warren used an ellipsis to conceal that these functions are discretionary; the statute states that the office “shall have such powers and duties as the Director may delegate to the Office, including.”

She claims that actions I have taken to secure sensitive information are illegitimate because my data security concerns are unjustified—a claim that ironically rests upon her mischaracterization of unauthorized leaks to her staff by bureau employees. In fact, the bureau has suffered hundreds of breaches of consumers’ personally identifiable information.

She claims that Congress gave the bureau only one political appointee and mandated that it hire all other employees based on merit. Not only is there no such mandate, the bureau is authorized by law to hire excepted service employees, and this is a common occurrence among independent regulatory agencies.

She claims that I “summarily killed” the bureau’s payday rule. In fact, the bureau announced only its intention to revisit the rule, a process which will proceed in accordance with the normal rule-making requirements.

If Sen. Warren is unsatisfied with my responses to her frequent inquiries, I would remind her that she is the one who conceived of the bureau to be “[f]ree of legislative micromanaging” and who recently reiterated that “the whole idea” of the Bureau was to “insulate it from political influence to the extent possible.”

By amending the Dodd-Frank Act, Congress can bring permanent accountability and transparency to the bureau. In the bureau’s recently issued semiannual report to Congress, I included several legislative recommendations to accomplish exactly those goals. I invite Sen. Warren and other Democrats in Congress to join Republicans in this effort.

Mick Mulvaney

Acting Director, CFPB

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