U.S. consumer watchdog official takes leadership fight to appeals court

Leandra English, current acting director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau meets with Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer and Senator Elizabeth Warren  in Capitol Hill Washington D.C

A USA federal judge denied on Wednesday a preliminary injunction sought by the deputy director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau seeking to stop White House budget director Mick Mulvaney from taking control of the agency. English failed to prove that she was "likely to succeed on the merits", "likely to suffer irreparable harm in the absence of preliminary relief", that the "balance of equities" tips in her favor, and that an injunction would be "in the public interest".

English sued both Trump and Mulvaney alleging that statutory language in the Dodd-Frank Act takes precedence and states that the CFPB director can name a successor.

Mork will be the second former aide to Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) to join the CFPB since Mick Mulvaney was named its acting director in November, following Brian Johnson who left the committee to become Mulvaney's senior adviser in December.

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In his written opinion, Judge Kelly said, "The best reading of the two statutes is that Dodd-Frank requires that the deputy director "shall" serve as acting director, but that under the FVRA the president "may" override that default rule". But the judge concluded that issuing the injunction that English wanted wouldn't solve the problem. On Nov. 28, Kelly denied her request for an immediate temporary restraining order blocking Trump from appointing Mulvaney while the lawsuit moved forward.

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. English emailed staff with directives, while Mulvaney showed up with an armful of donuts and an urgent memo. Kelly heard almost two hours of arguments on the injunction December 22.

"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", Gupta said in a statement. "Clearly the White House is in the lead here because they won in the lower court but that could change very quickly on appeal".

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A spokeswoman for Mulvaney did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

"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", he said.

Kate Berry covers the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau for American Banker.

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