Tag Archive | "Leandra English"

CFPB Official Who Sued Trump Resigns, Drops Suit


WASHINGTON, D.C. — Leandra English, who former Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Richard Cordray’s picked to succeed him as acting director, is ending her court battle to unseat Mick Mulvaney as acting head of the bureau and her employment with the embattled regulator.

On Friday, English’s attorney, Deepak Gupta, posted a statement on Twitter that English is stepping down from her role as deputy director and that she plans to file court papers today to bring her litigation over the leadership of the CFPB to a close following President Trump’s nomination of Kathy Kraniger as permanent director of the agency.

“I will be stepping down from my position at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau early next week, having made this decision in light of the recent nomination of a new director,” the statement, attributed to English, reads. “I want to thank all of the CFPB’s dedicated career civil servants for your important work on behalf of consumers. It has been an honor to work alongside you.”

On Monday, Mulvaney announced that Brian Johnson, who currently serves as the bureau’s principal policy director, will assume the bureau’s second leadership post as acting director. Prior to his appointment to the CFPB, Johnson served as senior counsel to Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) at the House Financial Services Committee.

Mulvaney described Johnson as an “indispensable advisor,” noting that he was the first person he hired at the bureau. “Brian knows the bureau like the back of his hand. He approaches his role as a public servant with humility and unsurpassed dedication,” Mulvaney said in a statement released late Monday. “His steady character, work ethic, and commitment to free markets and consumer choice make him exactly what our country needs at this agency.”

When Cordray resigned on Nov. 24, 2017, he elevated English, his former chief of staff, to deputy director — a move that established her as acting director until the Senate confirms Trump’s permanent appointee.

Hours after Cordray’s announcement, Trump appointed Mulvaney as acting director, citing his authority under the Federal Vacancies Act (FVRA) of 1988. English filed suit two days later (Nov. 26) to block the appointment, arguing that she was the rightful acting director due to a successor statute in the CFPB-creating Dodd-Frank Act.

English’s attorneys also questioned whether allowing Mulvaney, who once characterized the bureau as a “sick joke,” to continue serving as a White House official would compromise the bureau’s independence. The argument was backed by the former lawmakers who championed the CFPB-creating Dodd-Frank Act.

“That was our intent, to strip this away from the politics of the moment, to give consumers the sense of confidence that there was one place here — when it came to their financial services — [where] there would be people watching out for them, regardless of political party or partisanship,” said former Sen. Chris Dodd during media call this past November.

On Nov. 29, three days after filing suit, English’s request for a restraining order to block Mulvaney’s appointment was denied by U.S. District Judge Timothy J. Kelly. English’s attorneys then filed an amended complaint on Dec. 6, 2017, requesting a preliminary injection to remove Mulvaney as acting head of the agency. That request was also denied by Kelly, a ruling set the stage for English’s appeal.

“The Court finds that English is not likely to succeed on the merits of her claims, nor is she likely to suffer irreparable harm absent the injunctive relief sought,” Judge Kelly wrote in his 46-page decision. “Moreover, the balance of the equities and the public interest also weigh against granting the relief. Therefore, English has not met the exacting standard to obtain a preliminary injunction.”

Kelly’s ruling set the stage for English’s appeal, on which a three-judge federal appeal panel in Washington, D.C., has yet to issue a ruling.

On June 19, Trump nominated Kraninger, a White House budget official who works under Mulvaney and served as an aide to several Republican senators, to serve as the next director of the bureau. The announcement came a week before Mulvaney’s interim term was set to end.

“I have never worked with a more qualified individual than Kathy. Her commitment to the law, to protecting consumers and to defending what works in our vibrant financial services sector, all while respecting hard-working taxpayers who pay their bills and play by the rules ensures that the bureau will be in good hands throughout her term,” Mulvaney said in a statement issued the same day Kraninger’s nomination was announced. “Vigorous independence, sharp-as-a-tack intelligence, and simple, old-fashioned, Midwestern humility make her the ultimate public servant. I know that my efforts to rein in the bureaucracy at the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection to make it more accountable, effective and efficient will be continued under her able stewardship.”

Critics like Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren, however, have questioned Kraninger’s qualifications for the job because of her lack of experience in financial regulation or consumer protection.

email hidden; JavaScript is required Warren, who considered the architect of the CFPB, tweeted the day Kraninger’s appointment was announced. “That’s bad news for seniors, servicemembers, students — and anyone else who doesn’t want to get cheated. And it gets even worse.”

As for English’s Friday announcement, Warren said the following in a statement: “From the earliest days of the CFPB, Leandra has directed her passion and formidable skills to building a strong, professional agency that stands up for consumers. I’m grateful for her service and wish her the best in her future endeavors.

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Appeals Court Rules CFPB Structure Is Constitutional


WASHINGTON, D.C. — Nineteen days after the deputy director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau kicked off the next phase in her battle for control of the bureau, a federal appeals court upheld the constitutionality of the CFPB’s structure.

On Jan. 31, the D.C. Court of Appeals ruled 7-3 that a provision in the Dodd-Frank Act that says the CFPB director can only be removed for cause does not unconstitutionally constrain the president. The court also noted in its ruling, written by Judge Cornelia Pillard, that the way the CFPB is funded “fits within the tradition of independent financial regulators.”

“Applying binding Supreme Court precedent, we see no constitutional defect in the statute preventing the president from firing the CFPB director without cause. We thus uphold Congress’ choice,” Pillard wrote, adding that “no relevant consideration gives us reason to doubt the constitutionality of the independent CFPB’s single-member structure.”

The decision reverses the court’s October 2016 decision that declared the CFPB’s leadership unconstitutional by a 2-1 ruling and vacated a $103 million fine the bureau levied against New Jersey-based PHH Corp. in 2015 for allegedly accepting kickbacks from mortgage insurers.

The court did reject the bureau’s penalty against PHH in its ruling.

That same court will now hear CFPB Deputy Director Leandra English’s appeal of last month’s ruling by U.S. District Timothy J. Kelly, who sided with the White House for a second time and denied the bureau official’s request for a preliminary injunction to remove Mick Mulvaney as acting head of the CFPB.

English, who has requested an expedited review of her case, argues that she is the rightful acting director, having been appointed as deputy director by former CFPB Director Richard Cordray the same day he officially resigned from his post on Nov. 24.

Citing his authority through the Federal Vacancies Act (FVRA), President Trump appointed Mulvaney as acting director hours after Cordray elevated the title of his former chief of staff. English filed suit two days later to block the appointment, arguing that a successor statute in the Dodd-Frank Act made her the lawful acting director until the Senate confirms Trump’s permanent appointee.

On Nov. 28, Judge Kelly denied English’s request for a temporary restraining order to block Mulvaney’s appointment on grounds that the FVRA gives the president the authority to appoint a replacement. English’s attorneys then filed an amended complaint on Dec. 6 requesting a preliminary injunction.

Unlike the temporary restraining order, an injunction can be appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals if not granted. That’s what English’s attorneys did just two days after Judge Kelly denied her request.

“The President has designated Mulvaney the CFPB’s acting director, the CFPB has recognized him as the acting director, and it is operating with him as acting director,” Kelly wrote in his Jan. 11 ruling. “Granting English an injunction would not bring about more clarity; it would only serve to muddy the waters.”

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