Democrats Planning Investigations Into BCFP, Mulvaney: Report

While acknowledging that it is unlikely that they will get much in the way of legislation actually passed, Democrats in the House of Representatives still appear poised to make life as difficult as possible for Mick Mulvaney, the acting director of the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection and Kathy Kraninger, Mulvaney’s top deputy at the Office of Management and Budget who has been tapped to be his successor at the BCFP.

Wresting control from Republicans in the House means that Democrats will now be in charge of committees in that chamber, putting Rep. Maxine Waters [D-Calif.], a vocal opponent of Mulvaney’s, at the top of the House Financial Services Committee. A Republican-controlled Senate means that any legislation from Democrats aimed at trying to overhaul the BCFP will likely not see the light of day, but Democrats can still make life difficult for whomever is leading the BCFP by calling for hearing after hearing and investigation after investigation, which is likely what their playbook will call for, according to a published report.

“They can make life for Mulvaney or Kathy Kraninger less pleasant, but they’re not ultimately going to be able to have much of an impact on policy — they don’t have powers that will allow them to do that,” said Ori Lev, former deputy enforcement director for litigation at the bureau.

Whether that less pleasant lifestyle has any impact on a long-awaited proposed debt collection rule remains to be seen. The BCFP has said on numerous occasions that it is on track to release a proposed debt collection rule in March 2019, but there may be other priorities for the Bureau, according to the report.

Even if Mulvaney is not in charge of the BCFP when Democrats take control of the House in January, he is still likely to be investigated, according to the report. Sen. Mitch McConnell [R-Ky.], the Senate Majority Leader, has indicated that the Senate will take up Kraninger’s nomination after Congress returns from the Thanksgiving break. If the Senate does not vote on Kraninger’s nomination, she will have to be re-nominated by President Trump and then go through the confirmation process again. While that happens, Mulvaney will be allowed to remain in place as acting director.

“You can’t protect consumers without looking at and investigating the CFPB under Mick Mulvaney,” said Karl Frisch, executive director of the consumer group Allied Progress.

“We certainly need to know what motivated decisions that are now in place — it doesn’t matter who’s in charge at that point,” he added.


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