AUGUSTA, Maine - Maine Attorney General Janet Mills is joining a multi-state friend of the court action to challenge President Trump's choice for head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The CFPB was created by Congress in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, as a watchdog agency to protect consumers from predatory financial and lending practices.
The amicus brief states that the president is attempting to circumvent established rules by appointing outspoken CFPB critic, Mick Mulvaney, as the Bureau's acting director, instead of allowing deputy director, Leandra English, to succeed outgoing head Richard Cordray. English has filed a lawsuit.
Mulvaney is a former lawmaker from South Carolina, who currently heads the Office of Budget and Management. He has expressed frustration with CFPB, referring to it as a bureaucracy with no oversight, a "joke", and stating that "some of us would like to get rid of it."
Mills says Trump is flouting regulations by appointing Mulvaney as acting director.
“The CFPB must remain independent of politics and must be led by someone who genuinely believes in the Bureau's mission,” says Mills. “The CFPB has been a crucial partner in protecting consumers in Maine and across the country. I will fight for it to remain an agency that protects everyday consumers, not corporate interests.”
Mills says the CFPB since its start in 2011 has returned nearly $12 billion to the pockets of more than 29 million consumers wronged by financial institutions – five times more than the agency itself costs taxpayers to fund.
Legal opinion has been split on whether an earlier law allows the president to appoint an acting director or not. The matter is currently before the court.
An amicus, or friend of the court brief, is one where the parties are not directly involved in the case but have a strong interest in the outcome.
18 states have signed onto the brief.