Senator Claims Acting CFPB Director Is Weakening 'Critical Agency Functions'
Acting CFPB Director Mick Mulvaney is using bogus data security problems at the agency to effectively shut down much of the agency’s work, Sen. Elizabeth Warren says.
Warren, the Senate’s staunchest defender of the agency, said that Mulvaney has announced that, based on Inspector General reports, he has frozen the collection of any personal information by the agency.
“However, after reviewing the reports, their recommendations, and CFPB's response, I believe Director Mulvaney's actions are unjustified and that he inappropriately used the reports as a pretext to halt and weaken critical agency functions,” Warren said in a letter to Mulvaney and agency Deputy Director Leandra English.
She added that the IG reports show that the “agency's cybersecurity policies are robust and any problems with them are not nearly serious enough to support the action Director Mulvaney has taken."
In October, the CFPB’s inspector general’s office issued a report stating that the agency’s information technology program is “consistently implemented,” but that the agency could improve it.
Mulvaney was a vocal CFPB opponent when he served as a House member from South Carolina. President Trump appointed him acting director of the agency after Director Richard Cordray resigned. That appointment is being challenged in federal court.
Warren charged that the CFPB cannot operate without collecting personally identifiable information.
Warren said that based on internal CFPB documents she has obtained, CFPB Assistant Director for Supervision Examinations Paul Sanford sent an email to all bank examiners telling them to stop sending “any supervised entity any type of information request, whether as part of an initial request, a supplemental or follow-up request, or a monitoring request," until additional guidance is issued.
Warren said that the letter effectively halted all examination activity at the agency.
Warren also said that Mulvaney’s changes appear to prohibit examiners from obtaining information in advance of onsite examinations.
Warren said her staff has been told by several sources that enforcement attorneys at the CFPB have been prohibited from reviewing electronic evidence obtained through discovery.
Warren sent the CFPB a list of questions regarding Mulvaney’s decision.
The CFPB had no immediate comment on Warren’s allegations.