Mick Mulvaney, acting director of a controversial consumer finance bureau, fired an advisory board after the members criticized the new leadership for not taking their advice.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) announced Wednesday that the 25 current Consumer Advisory Board members will be replaced, and will be ineligible to reapply to the board, the Washington Post reports.
Eleven advisory board members held a news conference Monday calling out Mulvaney for canceling several meetings — which are required to take place under the Dodd-Frank Act which created the agency.
“It appears the bureau does not want to engage with us,” Ann Baddour, chair of the Consumer Advisory Board and part of Texas Appleseed, a financial, non-profit, said in a conference call reported by The Intercept. “Staying silent would violate our ethical responsibility to the bureau and the American people.”
The criticisms didn’t sit well with the CFPB, and one spokesman suggested the board missed the perks of taxpayer-funded trips to the capital. (RELATED: A New CFPB Scandal – Exclusive Look At Cost Overruns for Its New Lux Headquarters)
“The outspoken members of the Consumer Advisory Board seem more concerned about protecting their taxpayer-funded junkets to Washington, D.C., and being wined and dined by the Bureau than protecting consumers,” CFPB spokesman John Czwartacki said in a statement.
The current board was convened by Mulvaney’s predecessor Richard Cordray — now Democratic nominee for Ohio governor — in February 2017, and was supposed to be in place for two years. The charter states specifically that each advisory board member serves at the pleasure of the director of the CFPB.
The CFPB said in a blog post that it “will continue to fulfill its statutory obligations to convene the Consumer Advisory Board” but plans to “reconstitute the current advisory groups with new, smaller memberships” later this year.
Senate Democrats who support the original structure of the CFPB under former President Barack Obama found Mulvaney’s move to be further evidence of his hostility to the agency’s mission.
“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,” Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, one of the framers of the CFPB, said in a statement.
Democratic Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown said 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.”
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