Mick Mulvaney: My job is to prevent CFPB from "interfering with capitalism"

The interim head of the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau wants to really limit the agency's scope

By Matthew Rozsa

Staff Writer

Published December 1, 2017 1:04PM (EST)

 (AP/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
(AP/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

Mick Mulvaney, the man appointed by President Donald Trump to temporarily lead the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau, just admitted that he doesn't actually believe in the mission of the agency he's supposed to lead.

"The structure of the CFPB is just fundamentally flawed. The authority that I have now as the acting director really should frighten people," Mulvaney told Fox News' Lou Dobbs on Thursday. "You could sit down in a room with three or four people and say, 'Well, let's go off and do this.' And there's no accountability to Congress. I can set the budget pretty much without any input from Congress. In fact, without any input from Congress. We get an allotment from the Federal Reserve. So it's on one hand people call it independent, but the real bottom line is, it's simply unaccountable."

Mulvaney added, "We're gonna try and limit, as much as we can, what the CFPB does to sort of interfere with capitalism and with financial service markets."

There's one major point that Mulvaney casually overlooked. The CFPB was designed to be unaccountable to Congress. This was the underlying reasoning behind making sure that an outgoing director could appoint his or her own temporary replacement until the Senate officially confirmed a new one. As one of the agency's top supporters, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., wrote in a USA Today op-ed on Thursday, "Congress deliberately wrote the law this way to protect the agency from political influence from either party, and that English clearly is authorized to assume the role."

She added, "Will the CFPB remain a strong, independent agency that levels the playing field and protects American families, seniors, students and veterans? Or will Wall Street succeed in forcing the consumer cop off the beat?"

Mulvaney, on the other hand, had previously referred to the agency as a "joke" and had made it clear that he disapproved of its existence.

By Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a staff writer at Salon. He received a Master's Degree in History from Rutgers-Newark in 2012 and was awarded a science journalism fellowship from the Metcalf Institute in 2022.

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Cfpb Consumer Finance Protection Bureau Donald Trump Lou Dobbs Mick Mulvaney Richard Cordray