The U.S. Senate Committee of Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs’ top-ranking member, Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) has called for the resignation of Mick Mulvaney, Acting Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). This was in reaction to comments made by Mulvaney at a recent industry event, where he alluded to meeting with lobbyists if they contributed to his campaign.
Speaking of his time as a Congressman, Mulvaney is reported by The Hill to have said, “If you were a lobbyist who never gave us money, I didn't talk to you. If you were a lobbyist who gave us money, I might talk to you. If you came from back home and sat in my lobby, I would talk to you without exception, regardless of the financial contributions.”
“Deciding who you will meet with based on campaign contributions is the kind of ‘pay to play’ that understandably makes Americans furious with Washington, D.C.,” Sen. Brown said. “Mr. Mulvaney should resign, and The White House should quickly nominate a permanent CFPB Director with bipartisan support and a moral compass.”
Tom Cole, an Oklahoma Republican, and a House Appropriations Committee member was reported by Bloomberg as saying that he had no reason to question Mulvaney’s integrity despite the remarks. Cole noted he "wasn’t exactly a lobbyist’s favorite when he was here."
Defending Mulvaney’s speech, OMB spokesman John Czwartacki said that Mulvaney’s comments were being taken out of context. “Director Mulvaney's speech today made it clear that being from "back home" is "without exception" more important than money when visiting congressmen. Read the transcript for yourself,” Czarnecki said.
Referring back to Mulvaney’s remarks to lenders that they should press lawmakers hard to pursue their agenda, Brown said that banks and lenders didn’t need any more lobbyists. “Banks and payday lenders already have armies of lobbyists on their sides—they don’t need one more,” he said.
During the industry event, Mulvaney had also said that “We are going to do what the law says, but not what the law doesn’t say.” That sentiment has echoed Mulvaney’s tone throughout his tenure at the CFPB, where he has worked to scale back what he believes to be an overreach by the bureau and has called for changes to its oversight and overall mission. During recent testimony before the House Committee on Financial Services, Mulvaney said, “The bureau is not designed to be accountable and my work there is aimed towards one end goal: to make the bureau more accountable.”