Hearing will consider Mulvaney ‘accountability’ recommendations for consumer bureau

Recommendations for Congress to consider in addressing the accountability of the federal consumer financial protection agency made by its acting director this spring – as well as other suggestions – are the focus of a hearing Wednesday by a House subcommittee.

According to the committee memorandum posted Friday by the House financial institutions subcommittee, the recommendations made by Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection (BCFP, formerly known as the CFPB) Acting Director Mick Mulvaney will be discussed at the hearing, which gets underway at 2 p.m.

Mulvaney made the recommendations in the agency’s Semi-Annual Report to the President and Congress from the bureau, released April 2. In the report’s “message from Mick Mulvaney,” he outlined four changes to the law establishing the bureau “to establish meaningful accountability” for the agency.

The changes Mulvaney outlined are:

  • fund the agency through the congressional appropriations process (rather than from the Federal Reserve);
  • require legislative/congressional approval of major rules;
  • ensure that the agency director answers to the president “in the exercise of executive authority”;
  • create an independent inspector general for the agency.

In his April message, Mulvaney provided insights to his recommendations in his introductory remarks. “Per the statute, in the normal course the Bureau’s Director simultaneously serves in three roles: as a one-man legislature empowered to write rules to bind parties in new ways; as an executive officer subject to limited control by the President; and as an appellate judge presiding over the Bureau’s in-house court-like adjudications,” Mulvaney wrote.

“By structuring the Bureau the way it has, Congress established an agency primed to ignore due process and abandon the rule of law in favor of bureaucratic fiat and administrative absolutism,” he wrote in the April 2 report.

Mulvaney, however, is not on the list of witnesses scheduled to appear before the committee, according to the list also released Friday.

According to the subcommittee, the  four witnesses who will present comments are: Steven G. Day, President, American Land Title Association; Richard Hunt, President and Chief Executive Officer, Consumer Bankers Association; Kate Prochaska, Director, Center for Capital Markets Competitiveness, U.S. Chamber of Commerce; Elmer K. Whitaker, Chief Executive Officer, Whitaker Bank Corporation of Kentucky.

CALENDAR: House financial institutions subcommittee June 6 hearing