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Sunday, April 15, 2018


Jeff Sovern

I disagree with the statement in the above comment that "More likely is that Mulvaney is taking inventory and avoiding any dramatic moves in one direction or another until either there's an appointment or at the very least a ruling in the pending English case." Certainly some acting officials see themselves as constrained from taking any dramatic steps, but I don't think that describes Mulvaney. For one thing, he hasn't stated that he sees his role that way. He also doesn't seem to be acting that way. In addition to dismissing the Golden Valley case, he has announced that the Bureau will conduct a new payday lending rulemaking, has issued a series of RFIs on all aspects of the Bureau's activities, has terminated investigations, and has hired the Bureau's first political appointees (other than the director). That seems like more than keeping the chair warm to me, though some of those actions could be reversed later by a new director. I also think that the administration wants dramatic moves made by the CFPB, judging by its public statements. That being so, why would they wait so long to name a new director unless Mulvaney is expected to take at least some of them? The president reportedly interviewed a potential director in January of 2016 and knew when he took office that Cordray's tenure would expire no later than this summer, and most likely, would end sooner than that. In other words, I think Mulvaney's charge is to take some dramatic moves and I suspect that one way he is doing so is by terminating some investigations. But I would be happy to be wrong.

Ted F

Hi, Jeff. Without getting into the ethicality of a 950% interest rate, the Golden Mountain case was a good example of regulation by enforcement, because Golden Mountain wasn't breaking any laws. It was in compliance with the Indian sovereign nation laws where it was located, and the CFPB theory was that was not enough, but it as a matter of federal law also had to comply with state laws that Golden Mountain was not subject to. That might or might not be a good policy, but it wasn't one implemented by Congress or CFPB regulation. After the DC Circuit en banc ruling, it was pretty clear that it wasn't going to withstand court scrutiny, either. Not that anyone has reported on this accurately.

More likely is that Mulvaney is taking inventory and avoiding any dramatic moves in one direction or another until either there's an appointment or at the very least a ruling in the pending English case. Of course, it's very hard for the Bureau to do anything when the deputy director is spending all her time litigating her personal crusade and refusing to report to the office. But she is spending a per diem, relocating to San Francisco on the taxpayer dime!

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