A federal judge ordered on Wednesday that Mulvaney will be allowed to carry on as the bureau's acting director after denying an injunction request from his challenger, Leandra English.
But the same day that Cordray announced he was leaving, the White House announced that Trump had appointed Mulvaney to serve as the acting director under the Federal Vacancies Reform Act, which gives the president the power to fill open seats in federal agencies. Former CFPB director Richard Cordray, an Obama appointee, resigned and had given the reins to deputy director Leandra English on his way out. English served as the principal deputy chief of staff at the Office of Personnel Management, chief of staff and senior advisor to the deputy director for management at the Office of Management and Budget, and as a member of the CFPB implementation team at the Department of the Treasury. Ms.
Outside experts have continued to say English's case is weak, indicating that the longer Mulvaney remains in control, the less likely a court will be to reverse the earlier decision.
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In November, Kelly had turned down English's request for a temporary restraining order.
Kelly noted in his decision that both sides urged a quick resolution to the uncertainty about the bureau's leadership and said removing Mulvaney would not accomplish that.
English's attorney, Deepak Gupta, promptly blasted Kelly's ruling and expressed concern over Mulvaney's intentions to drastically curtail the bureau's authority, noting his history of siding with big banks over consumers.
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"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 the acting Director". Kelly heard almost two hours of arguments on the injunction December 22. "As Acting Director, I am filing this lawsuit to stand up for the CFPB", English's statement said.
"The law is clear: President Trump may not circumvent the Senate confirmation process by installing his White House budget director to run the CFPB part time". "Clearly the White House is in the lead here because they won in the lower court but that could change very quickly on appeal". "Mr. Mulvaney's appointment undermines the Bureau's independence and threatens its mission to protect American consumers". The CFPB's own general counsel, Mary E. McLeod, stated Trump was the one with the authority to name an acting director.
"Because the court has determined that English is not likely to succeed on the merits, the balance of the equities would necessarily weigh against granting her an injunction", Kelly said in his opinion.
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