November 28, 2017

Senator Warren Questions White House and OMB Director Mulvaney About Ethics Rules, Official Procedures Related to CFPB Role

Mulvaney's Purported Dual OMB/CFPB Appointment Raise Ethics, Staffing and Recordkeeping Concerns

Text of the letter available here (PDF)

Washington, DC - In a letter to White House Counsel Don McGahn and Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director Mick Mulvaney, Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) asked a series of questions about ethics, staffing, and recordkeeping concerns associated with Mr. Mulvaney's purported appointment to serve as Acting Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).

President Donald Trump last week named Mr. Mulvaney to be the CFPB's Acting Director while still serving as OMB Director. This appointment contradicts the Dodd-Frank Act, which specifies that the CFPB's Deputy Director will serve as Acting Director when a vacancy arises. While the dispute is resolved in court, Senator Warren's letter raises concerns about how ethics rules and other procedures are followed given the dual rule.

"I believe the language of the Dodd-Frank law is clear and that Leandra English, not Mr. Mulvaney, is the legal Acting Director of the agency," Senator Warren wrote. "But regardless, to the extent that Mr. Mulvaney and any other OMB staff are presently at the CFPB, this raises a number of important questions about how they are handling this dual role."

In writing to the White House and OMB Director Mulvaney, Senator Warren explained that she previously served in a dual role as Assistant to the President and Special Advisor to the Secretary of the Treasury on the CFPB, and that this situation required careful consideration of rules related to ethics, conflicts of interest, and White House recordkeeping, among others.

The senator noted that according to reports, multiple OMB staff appear to have accompanied Mr. Mulvaney when he arrived at the CFPB on Monday. She asked that the White House provide details about these staff members and their employment arrangements, including a series of questions about how Mr. Mulvaney and his staff will adhere to CFPB ethics rules and recordkeeping requirements.

"I am hopeful that you have already considered and addressed these issues, and that it is a pro forma matter to answer them immediately," Senator Warren wrote, requesting a response by December 4, 2017.

A PDF copy of Senator Warren's letter to White House Counsel McGahn and OMB Director Mulvaney is available here.