After months of legal wrangling, Leanda English announced through her attorney that she was stepping down from her job at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau:
Statements of Leandra English and Deepak Gupta regarding litigation over the leadership of the independent Consumer Financial Protection Bureau pic.twitter.com/PoOZqKk0LR
— Deepak Gupta (@deepakguptalaw) July 6, 2018
What a long, strange trip this has been. Last November, CFPB director Richard Cordray announced he was resigning but on his way out, he appointed Leandra English as his deputy so that she would become the acting director in his absence. According to the law creating the agency, that’s how things were supposed to work.
But President Trump chose to nominate Mick Mulvaney as acting director under the authority of another law which allows him to fill an acting director position with someone who has already been confirmed by the Senate. That left the CFPB with two acting directors for a time, though it wasn’t clear what English was actually doing every day when she came to work. From the Free Beacon last December:
Multiple requests for comment from English’s lawyer and the CFPB were not returned regarding English’s daily work activities and schedule. Aside from working on her lawsuit against the government and meeting with the Democratic leadership in Congress, little is known about English’s current role as deputy director.
Acting Director Mick Mulvaney has sent numerous emails instructing English to stop calling herself acting director and return to duties “customarily performed by a deputy director.” Those emails have gone unanswered.
As mentioned, English took her battle for control of the agency to courts where she lost repeatedly. From the LA Times:
English went to court last year after Trump appointed Mick Mulvaney as acting director, arguing that the Dodd-Frank law mandated that as deputy director, she — not a new appointee — should take over as interim chief.
After losing her attempts to get a federal judge to issue a temporary restraining order, then a preliminary injunction removing Mulvaney, English appealed. A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit heard the appeal in April but has yet to rule.
But today, she threw in the towel citing Trump’s nomination of a new director. I guess this is a face-saving way of backing away from a losing hand. So far, Elizabeth Warren, who helped create the CFPB, has not commented about the decision.
Here’s a Fox News report on the “dueling directors” from last November: