After Mick Mulvaney was named Acting Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), Mulvaney fired the Consumer Advisory Board, which included several NACA members, who then launched a successful, national campaign to highlight Mulvaney’s efforts to silence advocates. Mulvaney then elicited justifications for repealing consumer protections by issuing rapid-fire Requests for Information (RFIs). Consumer advocacy groups, including NACA, prepared top-notch responses. Mulvaney took no public action based on the RFI responses. We won that round.
In October 2019, Mulvaney’s successor, Kraninger, announced that the CFPB would establish a Taskforce to “modernize federal consumer financial law.” Consumer-friendly academics applied to serve on the Taskforce, but the CFPB selected only people who actively supported deregulation and appointed a Chair, Todd Zywicki, who publicly opposed the creation of the CFPB. The Taskforce violated several provisions of the Federal Advisory Committee Act.
NACA, U.S. Public Interest Research Group (PIRG), and NACA board member Kathleen Engel then sued the CFPB, alleging that the Taskforce was unlawfully formed and anything it produced was, therefore, without legal authority. Kristen Miller and her team at Democracy Forward provided outstanding representation of the plaintiffs. While the case was pending, the Taskforce issued a massive two-volume report that, as expected, recommended dramatic retrenchment of consumer protections.
The plaintiffs prevailed on a CFPB motion to dismiss and, while the parties were briefing summary judgment, the CFPB agreed to settle with broad injunctive relief, including notices on all volumes of the report stating that it “was produced in violation of FACA.”
Throughout the Trump administration, the CFPB tried relentlessly to reverse the gains we made under the Dodd-Frank Act. NACA, and its partners and members, stymied their efforts. NACA’s bold move was to take on an anti-consumer CFPB by serving as a plaintiff in the lawsuit, and we won.