It did not take Mick Mulvaney, the acting director of the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection, long to replace Leandra English as the bureau’s deputy director. Just a few days after English announced her intention to resign from the post and drop her lawsuit against President Trump asserting her belief that she should be the rightful acting director, Mulvaney tapped Brian Johnson to be the BCFP’s acting deputy director.
Johnson was most recently the BCFP’s principal policy director. Johnson was among the first hires Mulvaney made when he joined the BCFP last November as acting director. Prior to joining the BCFP, Johnson was a senior counsel on the House Financial Services Committee.
“Brian Johnson is the first person I hired at the Bureau and has been an indispensable advisor,” said Acting Director Mulvaney, in a statement. “Brian knows the Bureau like the back of his hand. He approaches his role as a public servant with humility and unsurpassed dedication. His steady character, work ethic, and commitment to free markets and consumer choice make him exactly what our country needs at this agency.”
Rep. Jeb Hensarling [R-Texas], the chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, applauded Johnson’s promotion.
“I’m pleased to hear that Brian Johnson has been selected today to serve as the Bureau’s Acting Deputy Director,” Rep. Hensarling said in a statement. “Brian’s deep understanding of the law and the Bureau’s structure was an invaluable asset to me during his time at the Financial Services Committee. There is no one who understands the Bureau more or who is more committed to ensuring the Bureau lives up to its mission of truly protecting consumer access to financial choice and freedom.”
What is interesting about the timing of Johnson’s promotion is not that it happened before the ink on English’s resignation letter was dry, but that it occurred 10 days before Kathy Kraninger is scheduled to go before the Senate Banking Committee for her confirmation hearing. Mulvaney had gone on record as saying he had never met English after his appointment as acting director last November and her subsequent lawsuit so it was clear that the deputy director spot was not something that needed to be filled immediately. Wouldn’t it have been better for Kraninger to select her own deputy director? It kind of feels like an outgoing general manager selecting a new coach instead of allowing the new GM to hire one. That is, of course, unless the outgoing GM knows that the incoming GM may not get confirmed and may never take office. Or, that the new GM, who worked underneath the current GM, would never question the outgoing GM’s decisions.
It’s likely that Mulvaney would say he did not want to name a deputy director while a lawsuit was ongoing and now that the lawsuit was dropped and English had resigned, the deputy director spot was too important to leave vacant, so we’ll just have to wait and see.