Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, in his role as acting director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), has fired all 25 members of the watchdog group’s advisory board. They will be replaced with new members in the fall, the Washington Post is reporting — and Mulvaney’s critics are arguing that he is determined to undermine the CFPB as much as possible.
Mulvaney’s decision comes after some board members publicly criticized his leadership of the agency. Last week, all 25 board members were notified that they had been fired and were told they would be barred from applying for positions on the new board that Mulvaney plans to assemble.
The CFPB was founded in 2011 under President Barack Obama in response to the financial meltdown of 2008 and the Great Recession. Designed as a financial watchdog group, the CFPB has kept an eye on everything from banks to credit bureaus to debt collectors.
But some Democrats have been highly critical of the direction the CFPB has taken under the Trump Administration, especially Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio. Warren, who played a key role in the agency’s formation eight years ago, has accused Mulvaney of going out of his way to undermine the CFPB; the Democratic presidential candidate officially stated, “Mick Mulvaney has no intention of putting consumers above financial firms that cheat them. This is what happens when you put someone in charge of an agency they think shouldn’t exist.”
Mulvaney, to be sure, has taken a dim view of the CFPB and has even dismissed it as a “joke.” And Brown has asserted that Mulvaney “has proven once again he would rather cozy up with payday lenders and industry insiders than listen to consumer advocates who want to make sure hard-working Americans are not cheated by financial scams.”
Chi Chi Wu, a National Consumer Law Center attorney, denounced Mulvaney’s firing of the entire CFPB board as “a huge red flag in this administration’s ongoing erosion of critical consumer financial protections that help average families.”