- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 10, 2018

President Trump had the power to name his own acting head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, a judge ruled Wednesday, delivering a legal victory to the administration in its battle to control one of the government’s most powerful independent agencies.

The ruling reaffirmed Mr. Trump’s pick, Mick Mulvaney, can remain as the acting head, over the objections of Democrats who’d tried to thwart Mr. Trump by inserting their own pick.

Judge Timothy J. Kelly said the president must have the power to fill out federal agencies, even ones meant to have a great deal of independence, and Mr. Trump did nothing wrong by imposing his own acting head on the CFPB.

“The president has designated Mulvaney the CFPB’s acting director, the CFPB has recognized him as the acting director, and it is operating with him as the acting director,” the judge wrote.

He said upsetting that decision now and installing Leandra English, the Democrats’ choice, would only “muddy the waters.”

The CFPB was created as a new cop to monitor companies after the 2008 Wall Street collapse. It has exceptional powers independent of the rest of the government, including all authority vested in its director, who can even set his own budget without oversight by Congress.

Former President Barack Obama, who pushed for the creation of the CFPB, installed Richard Cordray as the director, and Mr. Cordray pursued a number of actions against major corporate interests.

Mr. Cordray abruptly resigned his post late last year to prepare a run for office in Ohio, but as he left he named Ms. English his deputy director — and insisted that made her acting director once he was gone.

Mr. Trump said he had the power to name the acting director, and picked his budget director, Mr. Mulvaney, to be the acting chief.

Ms. English sued, arguing she was being denied her rightful job.

The law governing the CFPB did lend some credence to Mr. Cordray’s moves, but the judge said it was muddled at best, and everything else about the Constitution and the law governing vacancies tilted toward Mr. Trump.

Mr. Mulvaney has been serving in the position since late November.

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