A coalition of 25 Senate Democrats is demanding that Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney, who also serves as acting director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, reassemble the latter agency’s recently disbanded Consumer Advisory Board, allow members to finish their terms, and provide a plan on how the agency will meet with the board to fulfill ongoing statutory obligations under the Dodd-Frank Act.
Members of the CAB include representatives from industry, academia, and consumer advocacy organizations who advise and inform the CFPB of potential emerging threats to consumers.
“By dismissing the CAB, the CFPB is deliberately rejecting statutorily required advice from qualified professionals who are volunteering their services to the American public, with no credible explanation as to why the present CAB members are not capable of fulfilling their responsibilities,” the Democrats wrote in a letter to Mulvaney that was made public on Friday. “Importantly, you took these actions without ever meeting with the advisory board. Since assuming the mantle at the CFPB, you have failed to convene the CAB once. In 2018, you canceled two scheduled meetings with the CAB, despite the statutory requirement that the advisory board meet twice a year.”
Mulvaney, as pointed out in the letter, has limited his interactions with the CAB to one twenty-minute phone call, originally scheduled for one hour, on March 6, 2018.
“With no justification, you barred any current CAB members from reapplying, raising concerns that his actions are not motivated by a desire to streamline processes but by animus towards the current board members,” the letter says.
The Senate Democrats demand that Mulvaney, by July 26:
reassemble the CAB and allow members to finish their terms;
provide a detailed plan on how and when the CFPB will meet with the CAB and facilitate communications;
provide details of the material covered in the 20-minute call with the CAB on March 6, 2018, and what, if anything, the CFPB learned from the call;
provide the comments to the Requests for Information that were used to justify disbanding the CAB;
provide the names of all individuals and organizations that gave feedback about the composition of the CAB (within and external to the CFPB);
clarify, through agency policy or through CAB’s charter, that CAB members shall be allowed to serve their full terms unless removed for inefficiency, neglect of duty, or malfeasance; and
provide a summary of the composition of the six-member CAB outlined in the new advisory board Charter, dated June 2018.
Signatories to the letter include senators Bob Menendez (N.J.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), Angus S. King, Jr. (D-Maine), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Mazie K. Hirono (D-Hawaii), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), Jeffrey A. Merkley (D-Ore.), Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Thomas R. Carper (D-Del.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.), and Patty Murray (D-Wash.)