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The Wall Street Journal: CFPB battle heats up, as Cordray’s successor sues to block Mulvaney

November 27
10:05 2017

WASHINGTON — An Obama-era official at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau sued the Trump administration on Sunday night to block budget director Mick Mulvaney from taking control of the agency.

Leandra English, a career staffer appointed Friday to lead the CFPB by former director Richard Cordray, filed the lawsuit in federal court the night before the bureau was set to reopen with dueling temporary leaders vying to take it over. In doing so, she touched off a legal fight that will trigger court interpretations on how different statutes regarding succession apply to the unusual struggle over control of a federal agency.

President Donald Trump asserts he has the power to appoint an acting director, while the departing chief believed the law said otherwise. Last-minute maneuvering by Cordray means that come Monday morning, two officials have a claim on the acting top job: Mulvaney, who also serves as head of the Office of Management and Budget, and English.

The lawsuit, filed at the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, escalates the confrontation between the White House and the Obama-era leadership of the CFPB. English, a former chief of staff, was appointed by Cordray as deputy director so she could assume the role of acting director of the agency under a provision in the Dodd-Frank financial law, which created the CFPB. Calling herself the “rightful acting director” of the bureau, English is seeking a judgment and a temporary restraining order to prevent Mulvaney from becoming interim CFPB chief.

An expanded version of this report appears on WSJ.com.

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