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Trump sued on behalf of 130 million people for massive and unlawful power grab

No fewer than 18 state attorneys general are signing onto a lawsuit to stop Donald Trump from a massive power grab involving the appointment of a new director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPD). The dispute started last month, when Richard Cordray stepped down as the head of CFPD, an agency established after the 2008 […]

By Caroline Orr - December 09, 2017
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Maura Healey and Eric Schneiderman
Massachusetts AG Maura Healey, with New York AG Eric Schneiderman

The dispute started last month, when Richard Cordray stepped down as the head of CFPD, an agency established after the 2008 Wall Street crash to enforce financial regulations and protect consumers.

Upon announcing his resignation, Cordray used his authority to appoint Leandra English, the agency’s chief of staff, to step in as deputy director of CFPD. According to the Dodd-Frank Act, which created the CFPB, the deputy director shall “serve as acting Director in the absence or unavailability of the Director.”

If Trump respected the rule of law, he would have allowed English to lead the agency while he appointed a new director, who would then go through the Senate confirmation process.

But Trump doesn’t respect the rule of law, and that’s not what happened. Instead of going through the lawful process of nominating a new CFPD director, he completely skirted the Dodd-Frank Act and decided to install one of his cronies, White House Budget Director Mick Mulvaney, to lead the agency.

English promptly filed a lawsuit, calling herself the “rightful acting director” of the CFPB and requesting a temporary restraining order to stop Trump from installing  Mulvaney, a longtime critic of the CFPD, to run the watchdog agency.

“The President’s purported or intended appointment of defendant Mulvaney as Acting Director of the CFPB is unlawful,” the lawsuit says.

Now, English has backup.

According to new court filings, 18 attorneys general are joining in on the lawsuit, suing to stop Trump from getting away with a massive act of executive overreach. They argue that Trump has overstepped his authority, and they’re taking it to court to stop him.

The AGs represent nearly 130 million Americans, from the states of California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, and the District of Columbia.

While there’s no guarantee that the lawsuit will stop Trump from this unlawful abuse of power, he’s going to have to explain why he thinks he is better equipped to make that call than 18 attorneys general and the 130 million people they represent.


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