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Politics

How Mick Mulvaney is dismantling a federal agency

Catherine Rampell on

From the moment Congress created the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Republicans attacked it as a "rogue agency," "unaccountable," "malicious" and run by an out-of-control "dictator" who desperately needs more oversight.

Mick Mulvaney has apparently set out to prove them right.

In November, in a move that set off a power struggle still tied up in the courts, President Trump appointed Mulvaney acting director of the CFPB. He's running the bureau part time, in addition to his Cabinet-level post as director of the Office of Management and Budget.

Because, hey, not like there's been a lot going on budget-wise these days.

Miraculously, Mulvaney has found time to show how malicious, rogue and out-of-control an unchecked CFPB director can be. He has perverted the agency's mandate from protecting the public from scammers and cheats to letting the worst, scammiest, cheatingest companies run roughshod over the public.

Most emblematic of this was changing the CFPB's mission statement to emphasize its commitment to deregulation.

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Which -- huh?

The bureau was created as an independent agency after the financial crisis and was dedicated to helping consumers fight back when financial institutions rip them off. In its first five years, it provided $11.7 billion in relief for more than 27 million harmed consumers. In addition to enforcing the law already on the books, it passed new rules and regulations to protect consumers.

Accordingly, bureau releases used to describe it as "a 21st century agency that helps consumer finance markets work by making rules more effective, by consistently and fairly enforcing those rules, and by empowering consumers to take more control over their economic lives."

Around Christmas, this changed.

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