Mick Mulvaney, Office of Management and Budget director and current squatter in the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, took further steps last week to achieve his ultimate goal—destroying the CFPB—when he fired the entire Consumer Advisory Board. That group of outside experts in the 60-member group was comprised of three committees: the Consumer Advisory Board, Community Bank Advisory Council, and the Credit Union Advisory Council. They were all summarily dismissed, apparently with the rationale that they were too expensive to maintain.
It’s more likely that members of these organizations took their jobs seriously and were being too vocal about Mulvaney’s concerted efforts to dismantle the agency.
The panel has traditionally played an influential role in advising the CFPB’s leadership on new regulations and policies. But some members, who include prominent consumer advocates, academics and industry executives, began to complain that Mulvaney was ignoring them and making unwise decisions about the agency’s future.
On Monday, 11 CAB members held a news conference and criticized Mulvaney for, among other things, canceling legally required meetings with the group.
On Wednesday, group members were notified that they were being replaced—and that they could not reapply for spots on the new board.
But, sure. They were “too expensive.” Apparently also, too “coastal.” “There is a huge gap of outreach,” Anthony Welcher, CFPB’s politically appointed policy adviser told reporters. “The coastal regions have a huge voice in a lot of these issues and that the middle part of the country has been missed and that is something that is going to be addressed in a very prolific way.”
That argument probably came as a surprise to members like Angela Beilke, the mortgage banking manager for First Premier Bank of Sioux Falls, S.D., who chairs the community bank panel. Or Gregory Higgins, who is vice chairman of the credit union advisory panel as well as the general counsel for Wings Financial Credit Union in Apple Valley, Minn.
None of the insulting arguments put forward by Mulvaney or Welcher pass the smell test. This was about silencing critics and further undermining the CFPB, an agency that is one of the best examples of the good that government can do for citizens.