Trump taps unknown for consumer bureau nominee, sure to keep agency under his destructive control
The occupier of the Oval Office, Donald Trump, has tapped a nominee to replace the current squatter in the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Mick Mulvaney. Mulvaney has been pulling double duty running the Office of Management and Budget and as interim director of the CFPB, where he's been working full time to dismantle it. He can't be in the job forever, but neither do he and his boss want him to totally relinquish his control over it. What to do? Appoint one of his lackeys who no one has heard of. It's a decision that's not going down well with anyone.
Kathy Kraninger has been working in the OMB—Mulvaney's main shop—since March 2017. She's also worked for the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security and for the Department of Transportation. Her experience in the realm of the financial sector or consumer advocacy is apparently nonexistent. So why her? There are a few possible answers. Her current boss is Mulvaney and she'd be pretty likely to continue to do whatever Mulvaney wanted.
The second one is even less flattering, and is coming from even harder-line conservatives than Mulvaney, who wanted an outspoken opponent of the CFPB appointed. This line of thinking is that she's a sacrificial nominee, named for now so that Mulvaney can continue on in the job while the confirmation process cranks on. His tenure in the job would have ended on June 22 in the absence of a nominee, but now that one has been tapped, he stays there as long as the confirmation process plays out. Which might be indefinitely, because it looks like Kraninger is opposed on all sides.
“It would be exactly like the Bush administration’s try at Harriet Miers for the Supreme Court and would end the same way,” said J.W. Verret, professor of banking law at Scalia Law School, referring to the former White House counsel whose nomination to the top court by George W. Bush in 2005 was pulled in the face of tepid support.
Verret says «Republican opposition is building,» because she hasn't proven that she hates the CFPB as much as the candidates they had in mind. Ironically, her lack of a track record—and because of her ties to Mulvaney—consumer groups and Democrats are likely to oppose her as well. «The CFPB needs a director with a strong record of commitment to protecting consumers in the financial services marketplace,» Americans for Financial Reform executive director Lisa Donner said, reacting to the nomination. «This nomination aims to keep the CFPB hobbled.»
All of which points to what one analyst says will be «a barbarous confirmation process.» And to Mulvaney keeping the bureau in his disastrous paws for the foreseeable future.