English to Exit Consumer Bureau, End Legal Challenge

Leandra English, left, the deputy director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, meets with Senate Democratic leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) in November. (J. Scott Applewhite / Associated Press)

(CN) – Leandra English, deputy director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau announced Friday that she is leaving the agency and will end her legal quest to head the agency.

In a statement circulated by her attorney, Deepak Gupta, via Twitter English said she will step down from the bureau next week “having made this decision in light of the recent nomination of a new director.”

That was a reference to Kathy Kraninger, an associate director at the Office of Management and Budget, whom Trump nominated to be the permanent director of the bureau last month.

“I want to thank all of the CFPB’s dedicated career civil servants for your important work on behalf of consumers. It has been an honor to work alongside you,” English added.

In the same statement Gupta said he and his client intend to file court papers on Monday “to bring the litigation to a close.”

English sued Presdent Donald Trump and acting bureau Director Mick Mulvaney, whom the president appointed to lead the agency, in November 2017 arguing that she’d been legitimately appointed deputy director by former director Richard Cordray, who resigned his position to run for Ohio governor.

She premised her argument on a provision of the Dodd-Frank Act that said the bureau’s deputy director run the agency until the Senate confirmed a permanent director.

But Trump was having none of what he saw as an end-around to his authority. He appointed Mulvaney, then-director of the Office of Management and Budget, to serve as acting director just hours after Cordray resigned.

Mulvaney began work at the bureau the day after his appointment, on a day after that, on Nov. 28, 2017, U.S. District Judge Timothy Kelly refused to grant English’s request for a restraining order to prevent Mulvaney from continuing in his new position.

The D.C. Circuit heard arguments in the case in April, at which time Gupta urged the three-judge panel to rule English was the rightful head of the bureau.

Among those expressing their regrets over English’s decision Friday was Yana Miles, senior legislative counsel for the Center for Responsible Lending.

“Leandra English is a revered public servant with a history of prioritizing consumer protection,” Miles said. “With her help, the agency has been a vigilant enforcer of civil rights laws and combatant of discriminatory practices in the financial marketplace; English has helped enforce fair lending laws that protect consumers of color from being charged more for a mortgage, auto loan, or credit card.

“We need a champion who will maintain the level of commitment to consumers that Ms. English and the previous director did,” Miles continued. “Mick Mulvaney, who has publicly maligned the CFPB and called for its elimination, is not that champion, and, to that end, neither is the current CFPB Director nominee.”

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