So how goes life as an employee of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau on Monday? Two memos cited by the Washington Post tell the tale:
- From the boss: “I hope that everyone had a great Thanksgiving. With Thanksgiving in mind, I wanted to take a moment to share my gratitude to all of you for your service.” So wrote Leandra English, who signed off as "acting director."
- From the other boss: “It has come to my attention that Ms. English has reached out to many of you this morning via email in an attempt to exercise certain duties of the Acting Director," wrote Mick Mulvaney, who has been appointed acting director of the agency by President Trump. "Please disregard any instructions you receive from Ms. English in her presumed capacity as acting director.”
So which boss is the real boss? The courts may have to decide. The mess stems from the resignation last week of the previous CFPB chief, Richard Cordray. He appointed English acting director until a permanent director is named, but Trump stepped in and appointed Mulvaney to be interim chief instead. (Mulvaney has long been a fierce critic of the agency and its role in regulating the banking industry, though he did bring doughnuts on his first day.) English has sued to remain in the post, though the agency's own general counsel sides with Trump. It's a mess, but as Politico notes, the issue will be moot soon enough when the president appoints a permanent new leader. (Read more CFPB stories.)