Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall has joined with four other attorneys general in sending a letter to President Donald Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions declaring their confidence in the President’s authority to appoint his budget chief Mick Mulvaney as interim director of the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).
The CFPB, a controversial government agency, was created in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis to “provide a single point of accountability for enforcing consumer financial laws and protecting consumers in the financial marketplace.”
Over the weekend, Richard Cordray, an Obama appointee, resigned as director of the agency and attempted to name his deputy as the acting director, setting the stage for both a political and legal battle over the agency’s leadership.
The attorneys general explain in their letter that the CFPB’s deputy director may step in to the director’s role in the absence of an appointed director, but the President clearly has the authority to appoint an acting director under federal law and the Constitution.
“This illegal power grab by the last vestiges of the Obama administration must be stopped,” Marshall said of Cordray’s attempt to name his own successor. “The people of the United States voted for a President who would fight for the American people, roll back inefficient regulations, and create jobs. That President is Donald Trump, not the Obama-appointed outgoing director of the CFPB.”
The attorneys general note that, “The need for efficient administration within the Executive Branch—particularly for an agency like the CFPB whose actions have significant, national consequences—strongly weighs in favor of [a statutory] interpretation that gives the President authority to designate a temporary Acting Director of the CFPB . . . . Indeed, the opposite result would allow an unelected outgoing agency director to choose a temporary successor who may be at odds with the Executive Branch’s understanding of the agency’s mission and statutory mandate—and thereby continue the CFPB’s practice of overreaching regulation that harms the interests of consumers and small financial institutions.”
In addition to Marshall, the letter, which was spearheaded by West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, was signed by attorneys general from Arkansas, Oklahoma and Texas.