By Jeff Sovern, St. John’s University School of Law
Mick Mulvaney has now led the CFPB for three and a half months and during that period, has been subject to attacks, including on our blog. Naturally, his defenders are stepping up. For example, Congressman Blaine Luetkemeyer, who chairs the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit and served on the Financial Services Committee with Mr. Mulvaney, has penned an op-ed in Roll Call headlined Under Mulvaney’s Leadership, the CFPB Can Finally Live Up to Its Name. It is filled with what I learned in grade school to call glittering generalities and is sorely lacking in identification of actual accomplishments. Here is the closest Luetkemeyer comes to identifying one of Mulvaney’s accomplishments at the CFPB:
Since taking the helm at the CFPB, he has called for a full review of agency activities, a welcome step toward accountability and transparency. Just last week, the agency issued a public request for input on positive and negative aspects of the bureau’s rule-making processes.
Seeking information is useful if you have an open mind, but it’s not as if plenty of people were not already weighing in with their opinions on the CFPB’s activities, including on this and other blogs.
And what does Luetemeyer think Mulvaney’s vision for the Bureau is? Here’s another excerpt:
Under [Mulvaney’s] direction, the CFPB is moving away from its previous role as a punitive regulatory agency, becoming an advisory and oversight agency with a culture focused on protecting consumers and businesses across the nation.
There’s nothing wrong with the Bureau giving advice, but I don’t think that was the main reason Congress created it. The use of the word “oversight” implies enforcement, but the Bureau still hasn’t announced an enforcement action since Mulvaney took over. Here’s another sentence from the op-ed:
The CFPB must become an advisory and advocacy agency delivering well-deserved relief to consumers across the nation.
What exactly has the Bureau advocated since Mulvaney took over? And as for relief, the Bureau is still providing relief in cases commenced during former director Richard Cordray’s time, but as already noted Mr. Mulvaney himself has yet to bring an new action to get consumers relief.
One final note: if you think I have cherry-picked quotes, go read the piece for yourself and see if you can identify an accomplishment I overlooked. Feel free to post a comment noting the same.