NEWS: November 28

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Trump vs. Cordray fight over CFPB chief goes to court
Acting director of the agency files lawsuit challenging Mulvaney appointment

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau will begin work Monday with two people claiming to be chief of the Wall Street policing agency, in what is shaping up as the latest battle between President Trump and the anti-Trump resistance.

Mr. Trump named Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney on Friday to be the acting director of the bureau while keeping his OMB job, and by late Sunday night matters had spread to the courts.

The president was moving to counter Richard Cordray, the outgoing CFPB director with a decidedly anti-Trump bent who on Friday afternoon announced a deputy director, Leandra English. Mr. Cordray then sped up his retirement to Friday night, which he said made Ms. English the acting director of the agency before Mr. Mulvaney could set foot in the door.

In a lawsuit filed Sunday night, Ms. English asked the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia for a temporary restraining order preventing Mr. Mulvaney from taking control of the bureau.

Mr. Mulvaney showed up at the CFPB offices in Washington shortly after 7:30 a.m. Monday carrying an icebreaker of sorts - a large brown shopping bag of Dunkin' Donuts.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Massachusetts Democrat and a key player in the dispute, had warned that the question of who controls the CFPB will likely end up in court. 
Federal judge holds emergency hearing in challenge to Trump pick to head CFPB

A federal judge held an emergency hearing but declined to rule immediately Monday afternoon on a request to bar President Trump from installing an acting director at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in place of the agency's No. 2 leader, an Obama administration holdover.

U.S. District Judge Timothy J. Kelly of Washington heard arguments by the bureau deputy director Leandra English, who filed a lawsuit Sunday calling herself the "rightful acting director" according to a 2010 Dodd-Frank act, which established the influential watchdog agency.

Kelly said he would wait until government attorneys supplemented their arguments in a 40-minute hearing by filing a formal, written response Monday night defending Trump's choice, White House Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney, whose appointment they said was authorized under an earlier, 1988 law governing presidential vacancies in general.

Kelly, confirmed in September and one of two Trump nominees serving on the D.C. federal court, said he would notify both sides Tuesday "where we go from there."

He did not address a request by 25 Senate and House Democrats to file a friend-of-the-court brief in support of English. Read more at THE WASHINGTON POST
The Constitution Is on Trump's Side in CFPB Fight

An Obama appointee's lawsuit to lead the bank-watchdog agency isn't the way to challenge executive overreach.

Suits against President Donald Trump for abuse of executive power are an important tool for preserving the republic. But the newly filed suit by Democratic appointee Leandra English for the right to serve as acting director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is not helping the cause.

I t's based on a highly technical statutory provision, not the Constitution, which instead would tend to support Trump's authority to choose an acting director while he waits for the Senate to confirm a new head he's appointed. The suit is a partisan maneuver that will detract from the seriousness of the effort to keep executive power in check where it matters.

The background to the suit should already make you suspicious of it. English's claim to be acting director of the bank-watchdog agency is based on a clever sleight of hand by the CFPB's outgoing director, Obama appointee Richard Cordray.

As he left office, Cordray appointed English to be deputy director of the bureau. A provision of the law creating the CFPB says that, if there is no director available, the deputy director "shall" serve as the acting director until a new one is confirmed. Technically, Cordray was making English into the deputy director, which was within his power. And technically, that would put English into a role that would let her serve as acting director. But English had never held the position of deputy director before Cordray's last day in office.

Cordray was exploiting a loophole. He was intentionally trying to create a legal crisis by appointing English, aiming to extend his legacy or to make Trump fire English to get his own person into office. Read more at BLOOMBERG
Mulvaney, Trump-installed CFPB head sets hiring freeze, halts new rules

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The fight for control of the U.S. consumer watchdog agency intensified on Monday as Mick Mulvaney, President Donald Trump's pick to run the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), imposed a hiring freeze and halted any new regulations.

In a partisan showdown over the CFPB, which was created to crack down on predatory financial practices, Mulvaney is being sued by Leandra English, an Obama-era appointee to the agency who argues that she is the consumer bureau's rightful leader.

The conflict began on Friday when Richard Cordray, a Democrat appointed CFPB director by then-President Barack Obama, formally resigned and named English, his chief of staff, as acting director. Hours later, Trump named Mulvaney, the current director of the White House budget office, as temporary head of the CFPB.

The Republican president has a right to name a permanent CFPB director, officials agree. There are duelling claims, however, about who gets to lead the agency in the meantime.

Both sides presented their arguments during an emergency U.S. District Court hearing in Washington on Monday. Timothy Kelly, a Trump-appointed judge who is presiding over the case, said the issues raised were "extremely important and complicated."

The judge as well as the two sides said they hoped to see the case decided within the next few days.

The next step is for the Trump administration to submit its response to English's suit.

The fight to control the 1,600-employee agency lays bare deep divisions between Republicans and Democrats over how to regulate Wall Street and protect consumers, following the 2007-2009 financial crisis that cost taxpayers $700 billion in bailouts.

Republicans loathe the CFPB, saying it wields too much power and burdens banks and other lenders with unnecessary red tape. Read more at REUTERS
Cordray: Trump appointee Mulvaney won't be director of CFPB long-term

(CNN) Richard Cordray, who stepped down from the top Consumer Financial Protection Bureau position prior to the weekend, has his thoughts on how the power struggle for his old job will play out.

"(Mick) Mulvaney will not be director of the CFPB over the long term. ... This is the interim period we're talking about here," Cordray predicted to Erin Burnett on Monday evening.

Mulvaney, who currently serves as head of the Office of Management and Budget, was chosen by President Donald Trump, while Cordray tapped Leandra English on his way out the door. Both Mulvaney and English assumed the position Monday morning, with each reaching out to their inherited staff via email, signing them as "acting director."

The result is a legal minefield, one that for the time being will be navigated by federal Judge Timothy Kelly, who will decide a lawsuit filed by attorneys for English seeking to halt the appointment of Mulvaney, who is named in the lawsuit along with Trump.

"One thing I would say is this is a serious legal matter that should be weighed carefully," Cordray added during his "OutFront" interview. Read more at CNN POLITICS
CFSA Conference
Dueling officials spend chaotic day vying to lead CFPB

The battle over who will lead a prominent federal consumer watchdog agency escalated Monday, with dueling leaders each claiming control before a federal judge during a chaotic day of public appearances and maneuvering.

By the end of the day, it was still unclear who was the true acting director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau - President Trump's pick of White House budget director Mick Mulvaney or one of the agency's longtime executives, Leandra English.

Mulvaney showed up at the agency's Washington headquarters early in the morning bearing a bag of doughnuts and then firing off an email ordering the staff to disregard any orders from English. His office tweeted photos of Mulvaney taking part in office meetings and he invited in the press to announce that he had declared a temporary freeze on hiring and rulemaking.

Trump "wants me to get it [the agency] back to the point where it can protect people without trampling on capitalism," Mulvaney said.

English, meanwhile, came to the office and sent an early morning email welcoming the staff of 1,600 back from the Thanksgiving holiday and then headed to Capitol Hill, where she met with several Democratic lawmakers. She held her first public appearance before a barrage of cameras and reporters sitting alongside Sens. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.). Barely audible, English said the lawmakers had been "very helpful." 
Wall Street Journal
What Went Wrong With the CFPB
I was an aide to Barney Frank. I've learned it's a mistake to create an unaccountable agency.

By Dennis Shaul, CEO of the CFSA Nov. 19, 2017 1:25 p.m. ET

Richard Cordray's resignation as director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau provides a great opportunity for President Trump to appoint a new director who can undo an unfortunate legacy of bureaucratic overreach and political bias. More important going forward is what we have learned from our experience with the CFPB to prevent future similar missteps.

The first lesson is that Congress should never again create an "independent" agency with a sole director, particularly one not subject to the congressional appropriations process. Under the law, the CFPB-unlike the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Federal Communications Commission, the Federal Trade Commission and other independent agencies-is funded by the Federal Reserve, a move specifically designed to avoid congressional oversight.

I had the privilege of working as an aide to then-Rep. Barney Frank, chairman of the House Financial Services Committee when the Dodd-Frank Act of 2010, which created the CFPB, was written. I realized that no bill is ever perfect and the CFPB would have its imperfections. The authors wanted the bureau to be a fair arbiter of protecting consumers, instead of what it has become-a politically biased regulatory dictator and a political steppingstone for its sole director, who is now expected to run for governor of Ohio.

An independent federal agency should be nonpartisan. A bipartisan commission on the model of the SEC and FCC would allow for better and more evenhanded decision-making. To show how partisan the CFPB became under Mr. Cordray's leadership, not one of the agency's employees made a contribution to Donald Trump's campaign, while a multitude contributed to Hillary Clinton. The new director will have a partisan staff. Read the entire COMMENTARY HERE
The CFPB's first director cared about consumers, but he was consumed by politics.

On November 24, 2017, Richard Cordray resigned as director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. His final year in office, and especially his exit, revealed the true nature of the agency Democrats created through the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act.

Ambitious, cerebral, and socially awkward, Cordray had alternated between stints as an accomplished lawyer and a mediocre politician before he lost Ohio's attorney-general election in 2010 and Elizabeth Warren, then a presidential assistant, hired him to lead the nascent bureau's enforcement division. The following July, President Obama bypassed Warren and instead nominated Cordray to be the CFPB's first director. In the marathon standoff that ensued, Republican senators filibustered the nomination, Obama installed Cordray by using an unconstitutional recess appointment, Democrats threatened to change the filibuster rules, and Republicans surrendered. On July 16, 2013, the Senate confirmed the temporary director to a five-year term.

Perhaps it was this two-year ordeal that turned Cordray into a cynical partisan mercenary. The University of Chicago Law School graduate understood the harm that anti-market policies cause consumers, but whenever newly elected Senator Warren and progressive groups pressured him to pursue their agenda, he faithfully delivered. By 2017, there was no denying the ugly truth. Cordray cared about consumers, but he was consumed by politics.

Since 2010, Republicans have argued that the CFPB's unique structure - an independent agency whose single director the president can fire only for cause, with guaranteed funding through Federal Reserve Bank profits rather than the congressional appropriation process - is a recipe for government abuse, if not unconstitutional. Cordray proved them right. 
A_S Management
Showdown over top post at key watchdog agency CFPB

(CNN) A showdown over the leadership of a major consumer fraud protection agency was underway Monday morning, as both President Donald Trump's pick to lead the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the person tapped by its former director showed up to work.

Sunday night, lawyers for Leandra English, whom Richard Cordray named the effective acting director when he resigned on Friday, filed a lawsuit in the US District Court for the District of Columbia seeking to halt the appointment of Mick Mulvaney, who serves as head of the Office of Management and Budget and is also named in the lawsuit.

English's move marked a stunning turn of events at the agency, which was created after the financial crisis to protect consumers and keep an eye on Wall Street. While serving in Congress, Mulvaney voted in favor of killing the bureau, arguing it has too much power and issues unduly harsh regulations, and he has worked alongside Trump to roll back some of the agency's rules.

Both Mulvaney and English were present at the CFBP Monday morning. Mulvaney was given full access to the CFPB director's office with "full cooperation" from its staff, a senior White House official told CNN, adding that the OMB director brought doughnuts for his new staff. English, according to a source familiar with the matter, also was present at the bureau Monday morning, but it was not immediately clear if she and Mulvaney interacted. Mulvaney's communications director tweeted a photo of his boss "hard at work" in his new position. Read more at CNN POLITICS
Dreher Tomkies LLP
Online lenders pull out the popcorn, as the Trump administration fights to control the CFPB

There's another battle brewing in Washington, though it may not matter all that much to the many venture-backed online lending companies that had sprung into existence in the wake of post-crisis regulations.

At the center of this particular drama: The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which was established under the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act to protect consumers from predatory lenders and has become a potent consumer watchdog in the ensuing years, with wide power to battle abuses.

Just last week, the CFPB filed a lawsuit against Think Finance - a so-called financial technology provider that's accused in multiple federal lawsuits of being a predatory lender - for allegedly collecting payments on debts consumers did not owe. (Sequoia Capital had owned nearly 30 percent of Think at one point. Elevate Credit, which uses big data to assess loan applications from people with low credit scores and went public in April, was part of Think until it was spun off in 2014.)

Republican lawmakers have long sought to reduce the CFPB's oversight; now dueling appointments put its immediate future in question. Last night, President Trump named his budget director, Mick Mulvaney, as acting director of the agency hours after its current leader, Obama-appointed Richard Cordray, announced he would leave the job at the close of business and took steps to install his own choice for acting chief.

Mulvaney once characterized the consumer protection bureau as a "sad, sick joke," as notes the New York Times, and would be expected to try and unwind Cordray's legacy.

Cordray had named his chief of staff, Leandra English, as the agency's deputy director.
Read more at TECHCRUNCH
Amscot teams up with local organization to provide Thanksgiving meals 
to families in need

MIAMI FL -- On Saturday, November 18, 2017 Amscot Financial will partner with the 100 Black Men of South Florida, Inc. to distribute Thanksgiving food baskets to Miami-Dade County residents who are less fortunate.

Amscot's donation of 625 turkey boxes filled with all the fixings will be distributed to 25 local churches throughout Miami feeding over 5,000 people.

"All of us at Amscot are thankful to be part of the Miami community," says Ian MacKechnie, Amscot's founder, chairman and CEO. "It was important that we reached out to those neighbors who might not have a Thanksgiving meal otherwise. We're grateful to the 100 Black Men of South Florida for organizing such a much-needed effort."

Now in its 28st year, the civic organization has purchased and assembled baskets of traditional Thanksgiving meals to more than 70,000 people in the Miami-Dade county area. Residents have been served from as far as Florida City to Sunrise.

Amscot Financial has 237 locations throughout Florida. The company offers check cashing, cash advances, and free money orders along with a host of other convenient financial services, 365 days a year . 
Cordray on CFPB fight: The law is on my side

The former director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) said in a Monday night interview that the law is on his side in a legal fight with President Trump over who will lead the agency until a permanent replacement is confirmed by the Senate.

On Friday, the day he resigned, Richard Cordray elevated his chief of staff, Leandra English, to deputy director of the CFPB. Hours later, Trump said Mick Mulvaney, the head of the Office of Management and Budget, was in charge.

"The law is clear here. It says that the director, that was me on Friday, shall appoint a deputy director. I did that," Cordray said on MSNBC's "The Rachel Maddow Show."

Cordray said the Dodd-Frank Act, which created the consumer protection agency, is unequivocal on this point.

"It then says very clearly and simply that if the deputy director is there is an absence, the deputy director becomes the acting director," he said.

The White House and Justice Department, however, say appointing Mulvaney was within the president's authority under the Vacancies Act.

On Sunday, English sued Trump to block Mulvaney's appointment, saying he had illegally superseded the CFPB's line of succession.

Cordray said the two conflicting stances make this an ideal case to be determined in a courtroom. Read more at THE HILL

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