Judges weigh in on leadership battle at U.S. consumer agency

Judges weigh in on leadership battle at U.S. consumer agency

April 12 (UPI) — A federal appeals court judge got involved Thursday in a power dispute at the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, between White House budget director Mick Mulvaney and agency Deputy Director Leandra English.

English asked the three-judge panel in the nation’s second most powerful court for an injunction to block Mulvaney from serving as acting director.

The panel includes judges Thomas Griffith, Patricia Millet and Judith Rogers.

English attorney Deepak Gupta argued that Mulvaney, who President Donald Trump appointed, should not be the acting director because he also serves as Trump’s budget chief.

The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010 protects the independent agency from OMB oversight.

Millett, an appointee of former President Barack Obama, appeared skeptical of Mulvaney’s dual role.

“The end result of appointing Mr. Mulvaney is everything the CFPB director is going to decide is going to be approved by the OMB director,” Millett told Justice Department lawyer Hashim Mooppan, who’s argued in Mulvaney’s favor. “He’s wearing two hats at the same time.”

Gupta argued that English should lead the CFPB because Dodd-Frank requires the deputy director “shall serve as the acting director in the absence or unavailability of the director.”

Griffith questioned if English had proper standing to sue.

“All the injunctive relief does is tell Mr. Mulvaney he can’t show up to work,” he said.

Mulvaney became CFPB acting director when Trump appointed him to replace agency chief Richard Cordray, who left to run for Ohio governor in November.

The CFPB was created by Obama to address the 2008 financial crisis.

Mulvaney’s term as acting director expires after a 210-day period — or around June 22.