Political News

CFPB official who challenged Mulvaney for top job is stepping down

Posted July 6, 2018 4:24 p.m. EDT

— Leandra English, a top Consumer Financial Protection Bureau official, is stepping down from the agency and ending a legal fight to become acting chief.

English, the agency's deputy director, had challenged President Donald Trump's decision to name Mick Mulvaney as interim director of the agency last year. She said she was dropping her legal battle for the top role following Trump's nomination of Kathy Kraninger as a permanent director last month.

"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," English said in a statement on Friday through her attorney. "It has been an honor to work alongside you."

A spokesman for the bureau was not immediately available to comment.

English had challenged Mulvaney's appointment saying a provision in the Dodd-Frank financial reform law specified that the deputy director should step in as interim head.

English, however, failed to convince a federal judge to issue a temporary restraining order and a preliminary injunction to remove Mulvaney. She later filed an appeal. A three-judge federal appeals panel in Washington DC had yet to issue a ruling.

English's attorney, Deepak Gupta, said his client plans to drop the appeal.

"Now that President Trump has decided to seek Senate confirmation of a new Director for the independent Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Ms. English is stepping down and we intend to file court papers on Monday to bring the litigation to a close," Gupta said in a statement.

The CFPB was created in 2010 by Congress under former President Barack Obama to safeguard Americans from financial predators. Under Mulvaney, the CFPB has rolled back rules, dropped lawsuits against payday lenders and stripped enforcement of fair-lending protections.

Consumer advocates, such as the US Public Interest Research Group,applauded English's work at the bureau and said their priority would be to ensure the president's nominee would commit to protecting consumers.

"Now that President Trump has nominated a new CFPB director, U.S. PIRG intends to push the Senate to only confirm the candidate if she will protect consumers," said Ed Mierzwinski, senior director of the federal consumer program. "After all, that is the CFPB's only job."

Christopher Peterson, the director of financial services at the Consumer Federation of America, called on the Trump administration "to put its chaotic transition period behind and focus on ensuring our country's financial services are safe, fair, and transparent."