IRELA Update: CFPB Director Cordray Resigns

Sun, November 26, 2017 6:31 PM | Anonymous

IRELA Update:

CFPB Director Richard Cordray Resigns
Who Will Lead the CFPB? — Cordray Designates Deputy Director
Leandra English As Successor

Cordray’s November 24th resignation letter was cordial, but clear.

Richard Cordray’s resignation letter to President Donald Trump touted the agency’s successes as a consumer watchdog and ended with a reference to his post-bureau path.

“I am grateful to have been able to serve my country in this capacity, and in departing I now look forward to finding further ways to continue to advocate for those who are facing economic anxiety and uncertainty in their lives.”

— Rich Cordray (@RichCordrayOH) November 24, 2017

On Friday, November 24th, Cordray (CFPB) officially appointed Leandra English, the bureau’s chief of staff, to the agency’s number-two position of deputy director to serve as interim director until Congress confirms an appointee. By installing an official deputy, Cordray was making a calculated move.  A provision of the Dodd-Frank Act, the same act that created the CFPB, stipulates that the deputy director shall “serve as acting Director in the absence or unavailability of the Director.” Prior to Cordray’s move on Friday, the agency had only an acting deputy director.

Shortly after Cordray’s announcement on Friday, the White House named Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney as the CFPB’s interim director, to serve in the post in addition to serving in his role as director of the White House Office of Management and Budget.

“Director Mulvaney will serve as acting director until a permanent director is nominated and confirmed,” the White House said in a statement Friday.

The two moves set up a clash over who will run the bureau pending Congressional confirmation of Cordray’s successor. The legal tension will likely be between the 1998 Federal Vacancies Act (a statute which generally empowers the president to fill vacancies on an interim basis unless some other mechanism is specifically authorized) and the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act which created the CFPB. The case for Cordray being able to designate his own successor under Dodd-Frank may be strengthened by the fact that the version of Dodd-Frank passed by the House had explicitly applied the Vacancies Act to the CFPB, but the conference committee stripped out that language.

Ultimately, the issue will likely have to be resolved in a court of law.

UPDATE: November 26, 2017 10:00 pm: CFPB Deputy Director Leandra English has filed suit in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia claiming that the 2010 Dodd-Frank specific succession provision controls over the provisions of the 1998 Vacancies Act.  The suit seeks injunctive relief allowing her to act as interim director until the case can be heard by a federal judge.

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