The maybe-head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB”) once referred to the agency he’s currently jockeying to lead in extremely unflattering terms.
In a 2014 interview with the Credit Union Times, an outlet dedicated to news and analysis for and about credit unions, Mick Mulvaney, then a congressional representative for South Carolina, said of the CFPB:
It’s a wonderful example of how a bureaucracy will function if it has no accountability to anybody. It turns up being a joke, and that’s what the CFPB really has been, in a sick, sad kind of way, because you’ve got an institution that has tremendous authority over what you all do for a living.
During that same interview, however, Mulvaney also said the CFPB was “extraordinarily frightening,” and noted that he and many of his conservative colleagues “would like to get rid of it,” while acknowledging that such a course of action was fairly unlikely.
More recently, Mulvaney was given a chance to dial back some of those comments. He chose to stand his ground.
While being interviewed by Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR) during his confirmation hearings for director of the Office of Management and Budget–the post he currently holds–Mulvaney was asked, “Do you still believe the CFPB is a sad, sick joke?” Mulvaney replied in the affirmative and took the opportunity to expound. He said:
Yes sir, I do. And I’ll be happy to tell you why: it is, to me sir, one of the most offensive concepts I think in a representative government. Which is almost completely unaccountable government bureaucracy, government regulatory agency. One of the most frustrating experiences I’ve had since I’ve been in Congress is people walking into my office, asking me for help, and having me look them in the eye and say, “I’m sorry, there’s no way under and circumstance that I can help you.” And that’s what I’ve been forced to do with the CFPB. Because they are off appropriations, because we don’t budget for them, because they’re run by essentially a one-person dictator who believes he can’t even be fired by the president but for cause. We have created, perhaps inadvertently, the very worst kind of government entity.
[image via screengrab]
Follow Colin Kalmbacher on Twitter: @colinkalmbacher