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Trump, outgoing consumer agency leader both name acting leaders

By Allen Cone
Trump, outgoing consumer agency leader both name acting leaders
Richard Cordray departed as Consumer Financial Protection Bureau director Friday. File photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI | License Photo

Nov. 25 (UPI) -- President Donald Trump named White House Budget Director Mick Mulvaney acting director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, hours after the outgoing director, Richard Cordray, named his replacement.

Cordray appointed the agency's chief of staff, Leandra English, as deputy director, making her his successor.

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So, the agency, which was established in the wake of the recent financial crisis, has two people with claims to the top job.

"The president looks forward to seeing Director Mulvaney take a common sense approach to leading the CFPB's dedicated staff, an approach that will empower consumers to make their own financial decisions and facilitate investment in our communities," the White House said in a statement Friday night. "Director Mulvaney will serve as acting director until a permanent director is nominated and confirmed."

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Cordray, a Democrat appointed by President Barack Obama, wrote in a note to staff: "I want to share with you that I made the decision to reassign Leandra English to the position of deputy director, a reassignment she has accepted and that has been effectuated. Accordingly, upon my departure, she will become the acting Director pursuant to section 1011(b)(5) of the Dodd-Frank Act."

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Last week, Cordray said he would be leaving by the end of the month. But on Friday, he abruptly announced that he would leave at the end of the day.

The 2010 Dodd-Frank Act says the consumer bureau's deputy director shall "serve as acting director in the absence or unavailability of the Director."

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"In considering how to ensure an orderly succession for this independent agency, I determined that it would be best to avoid leaving this key position filled only in an acting capacity," he added. "In consultation over the past few days, I have also come to recognize that appointing the current chief of staff to the deputy director position would minimize operational disruption and provide for a smooth transition given her operational expertise."

The Federal Vacancies Act allows the president to install a temporary acting head of any executive agency already confirmed by the Senate to another position.

The Vacancies Act says that an opening may also be filled if another law "expressly ... designates an officer or employee to perform the functions and duties of a specified office temporarily in an acting capacity."

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Republican lawmakers and bankers have said the agency has too much regulatory power.

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While in the U.S. House in 2014, Mulvaney called it "a wonderful example of how a bureaucracy will function if it has no accountability to anybody." He added that the bureau has been a "sick, sad" joke.

In his resignation letter dated Nov. 24, Cordray said "it has been one of the great joys of my life to have had the opportunity to serve as the first director of the Consumer Bureau for the past six years."

His term officially expired next year.

Cordray, 58, did not reveal further plans, though he is said to be mulling a gubernatorial run in Ohio. He is a former attorney general and treasurer in the state.

Trump weighed in on the agency and Cordray, posting Saturday on Twitter: "The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, or CFPB, has been a total disaster as run by the previous Administrations pick. Financial Institutions have been devastated and unable to properly serve the public. We will bring it back to life!"

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