Right and Left React to the Turmoil at the Consumer Finance Watchdog

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Adam White in Notice & Comment:

Mr. White, a research fellow at the Hoover Institution, takes his readers through the legal reasoning that justifies President Trump’s appointment of Mick Mulvaney as acting director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Mr. White opens his argument by noting that President Barack Obama’s initial appointment of Richard Cordray as the bureau’s director was itself unconstitutional and that Mr. Cordray’s decision to name his deputy as his successor is yet another attempt to “undermine the lawful process for appointing C.F.P.B. leadership.” Read more »

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Shannen W. Coffin in The Weekly Standard:

The president has the law on his side, Mr. Coffin argues. While Democrats are likely to slow-walk the confirmation process for whomever Mr. Trump ultimately appoints, the president still has the constitutional authority to name an interim director, he says. Moreover, Mr. Coffin, a lawyer who has “represented clients affected by and opposed to C.F.P.B. regulation,” is eager for Mr. Mulvaney to begin rolling back what he considers to be the bureau’s regulatory overreach. Read more »

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David Harsanyi in The Federalist:

The chaos emerging from the agency could not come at a better time, Mr. Harsanyi writes. The conflict over who will helm the bureau is a perfect opportunity for the Trump administration to start “seriously diminishing the power and reach of the agency, and perhaps eliminate it altogether.” He points out what he sees as “norm-busting” hypocrisy on the left, writing, “Democrats are now arguing that their favored bureaucrat should be able to wrest control of a law-enforcement agency because they’re unhappy with the outcome of the last election.” Read more »

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Ronald L. Rubin in National Review:

Mr. Rubin, who was an enforcement lawyer at the consumer finance watchdog, views Mr. Cordray’s appointment of Leandra English as interim director of the agency as a “sickening stunt” that reeks of politics. He accuses Mr. Cordray of trying to cover up some of the agency’s missteps, including its “failure to investigate the Wells Fargo fraud; data manipulation in its failed attempt to regulate car dealers by guessing buyers’ races and alleging discriminatory lending; inspector-general admonishments to stop obstructing congressional oversight; and some particularly explosive sexual-harassment claims against C.F.P.B. senior managers.” Read more »

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David Dayen in The Intercept:

Mr. Dayen points out that the person who wrote the Trump administration’s memo supporting the president’s appointment of Mr. Mulvaney to lead the bureau also once represented a payday lender that it targeted last year. Read more »

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Margaret Hartmann in New York Magazine:

Even if Ms. English prevails in court, Ms. Hartmann writes, it is unlikely that the agency will function as it was intended to. Mr. Trump will appoint a permanent director in a “matter of weeks” and the Republican Senate is likely to confirm anyone he picks. Read more »

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Noah Feldman in Bloomberg:

Ms. English’s suit against Mr. Trump is a misguided attempt to correct executive overreach, Mr. Feldman says. He describes it as a “partisan maneuver” and a “clever sleight of hand” — an action by Mr. Cordray to exploit a loophole that would create a deliberate legal crisis in the agency. Read more »

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