Ethics watchdog: Mulvaney may have 'misled' Senate at confirmation

By Sommer Brokaw
Ethics watchdog: Mulvaney may have 'misled' Senate at confirmation
An ethics watchdog filed a complaint Monday saying White House Budget Director Mick Mulvaney made misleading statements during his Senate confirmation last year. File Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI | License Photo

April 30 (UPI) -- A nonpartisan ethics watchdog called for a probe Monday of White House budget chief Mick Mulvaney, over statements he made during his Senate confirmation hearings last year.

The Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington filed the complaint Monday with the Senate's budget committee about Mulvaney, who is also acting director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.


Specifically, the group said it appears Mulvaney "misled" the panel during his confirmation process -- and may have also violated "ethical obligations" by failing to pay private company debts.

The issue stems from Mulvaney's investments in a real estate that went through foreclosure proceedings in January 2017.

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During his confirmation, Mulvaney said the the proceeding was "uncontested," and that one of the lenders had an unsecured interest.

CREW said in its letter, though, the lender "had a secured interest" -- proven by a mortgage lien on the property -- and intended to contest the proceedings.

"Three days before Mr. Mulvaney was confirmed by the Senate, [lender] Fonville filed a claim in the foreclosure proceeding seeking $2.565 million for breach of contract," CREW Executive Director Noah Bookbinder said. "Despite these changed circumstances, Mr. Mulvaney did not update the Senate following Fonville's filing."

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"As [budget] director, Mr. Mulvaney is responsible for managing the federal government's budget involving trillions of dollars. As acting director of the CFPB, he is expected to protect consumers from unfair, deceptive, or abusive practices and take action against companies that break the law," Bookbinder added. "His real estate dealings appear to be at odds with his ethical requirements and the basic principles he is expected to uphold."

Mulvaney was narrowly confirmed by the Senate last year, 51-49. He did not immediately respond to Monday's complaint.

Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio, a ranking Democrat on the Senate's banking committee, has already called for Mulvaney's resignation for saying lobbyists who donated to his campaign received better treatment than those who didn't.

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"Mr. Mulvaney should resign, and The White House should quickly nominate a permanent CFPB director with bipartisan support and a moral compass," Brown tweeted last week. "Banks and payday lenders already have armies of lobbyists on their sides -- they don't need one more."

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