WASHINGTON--Mick Mulvaney is moving quickly to put his stamp on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, an agency he has strongly criticized, even as he continues to spar with the deputy director over who is in charge.
Mulvaney, the White House budget director whom President Trump appointed to the post Nov. 24, said he had already started installing some of his aides in bureau jobs and was reviewing ongoing legal actions against financial firms. He also expressed support for House legislation introduced last week to repeal the bureau's recent regulations cracking down on payday and other short-term loans.
His actions come despite an expectation that Deputy Director Leandra English will continue her legal battle and file for a temporary injunction that would seek to oust Mulvaney from his office and reinstate her as acting director.
"Aside from her presence here, which is a little strange, I won't lie to you, I think things are going extraordinarily smoothly and extraordinarily well," Mulvaney said Monday of English, whom he said continues to report for work.
Mulvaney said he expected to be in the job for five to seven months because a permanent director still must be nominated and then confirmed by the Senate.
Among his priorities in that time, he said, was acting on an inspector general's report this year that raised concerns about the bureau's data security efforts that "scares me to death."
He said he was halting the collection of all data containing personally identifiable information about consumers as part of the bureau's oversight of banks and other firms until the security issue is "buttoned down."
"We're not going to start collecting data under my watch until we are absolutely confident that stuff isn't going to get hacked," Mulvaney said. The bureau's previous leadership team had been taking the problem seriously, he said..
It was a rare positive comment directed toward Richard Cordray, an appointee of President Barack Obama who was the bureau's first director and clashed often with Mulvaney and other Republicans.
The disputes continued after Cordray stepped down Nov. 24. He promoted English, his chief of staff, to deputy director and said she would serve as acting director under a provision of the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act, which created the bureau.