by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Leandra English, the deputy director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), sued President Donald Trump and White House Budget Director Mick Mulvaney late Sunday to secure control of the agency, claiming she is the lawful interim successor to former CFPB Director Richard Cordray.
Cordray’s resignation last week prompted a crisis at the CFPB, which in short order evolved into a proxy conflict over the power of the administrative state, the sprawling network of agencies that enforce federal laws and promulgate their own regulations.
The law which charted the CFPB — the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act — contains a succession provision allowing the agency’s deputy director to assume the directorship if the post is vacant. Cordray designated English as his interim successor before resigning, citing that provision of federal law. The Trump administration countered that the president has power to name an acting director under the Federal Vacancies Reform Act (FVRA), and tapped Mulvaney to lead the agency until a permanent director is confirmed.
Mulvaney’s appointment prompted a lawsuit from English, who claims she is the rightful acting director. The suit was filed at the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C. She is represented by Deepak Gupta, a litigator associated with several anti-Trump legal causes.