But English's push to be recognized as the legitimate acting director took a blow Monday after a memo was released from Mary McLeod, the CFPB's general counsel, saying she agreed with the White House that Mulvaney should be recognized as acting director.
You're getting ready to take over a top spot in a governmental agency that has an acting head.
Long-time CFPB director Richard Cordray stepped down from his post as director on Friday, naming Leandra English, his chief of staff, as acting director. Judge Timothy Kelly, a Trump appointee approved recently by the Senate, will hear arguments on the case late Monday afternoon.
Barney Frank, a former representative from MA who was a co-sponsor of the Dodd-Frank Act, said that the law intended for the acting director to step into any vacancy, to protect the agency from political influence.
One of the administration officials said Mulvaney was expected to start working Monday and that English was expected to also show up - but as deputy director.
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English had been promoted from her role as chief of staff by outgoing head Richard Cordray on Friday, while Mulvaney was appointed last week by President Donald Trump.
Mulvaney also signed off as "acting director" and invited staff to pop by his office on the fourth floor to "grab a donut". It is unclear if English is bringing any breakfast.
President Donald Trump cited the Federal Vacancies Act of 1988 to support Mulvaney's appointment, however, the law includes language that English perceives as an exception in this case, since Dodd-Frank expressly provides a pathway for interim leadership at the CFPB, according to the lawsuit.
In the complaint, she refers to Mulvaney as "the person claiming to be acting director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau", asserting, "the President's purported or intended appointment of defendant Mulvaney as Acting Director of the CFPB is unlawful".
Before the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau was established, there were seven different federal agencies tasked with overseeing financial consumer issues. Elizabeth Warren that was championed by President Barack Obama. Katz said Congress imbued the CFPB with great power and independence, so only Congress could force real change at the agency.
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"The administration is aware of the suit filed this evening by Deputy Director English".
Senior Trump administration officials said Saturday that the law was on their side and they expect no trouble when Trump's pick for temporary director of the CFPB shows up for work. Mulvaney's email directly disputed English's, asking staff to disregard her instructions and to inform the agency's general counsel of any communications from her related to bureau duties.
Mulvaney, speaking to reporters at the bureau, announced he was imposing a 30-day freeze on hiring and new rulemaking.
"If the court decides to issue a temporary restraining order. However the law is clear: Director Mulvaney is the Acting Director of the CFPB", said White House press secretary Sarah Sanders in a statement. Cordray named his deputy to succeed him, something that it appears the CFPB director can maybe do, what with the agency being pretty independent from oversight. "English in her presumed capacity as Acting Director", he said in a memo seen by Reuters. McLeod recognizes, as she must, that the House-passed version of the law creating the CFPB would have made the FVRA available to the president in circumstances like this - but - that Congress deliberately replaced that version with one not giving the president a power to circumvent Dodd-Frank.
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