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Deputy Director files amended complaint in CFPB leadership dispute

[JURIST] Deputy Director Leandra English filed an amended complaint [text, pdf] Wednesday challenging President Donald Trump and his pick to lead the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) [official website] as interim director.

When former director Richard Cordray formally resigned November 24, he named English as his temporary replacement [press release]. However, Trump immediately named current Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney [official profile] as the acting director until he could confirm a permanent director through the Senate. The suit hinges on which official is legally entitled to serve as the CFPB director.

The amended complaint outlines six specific claims for relief including violations of the succession plan incorporated into the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act [text, PDF], the Appointments Clause [art. II, § 2 text] of the U.S. Constitution and the Administrative Procedure Act.

English argues she is required and empowered by Dodd-Frank to "serve as [the CFPB's] acting Director in the absence or unavailability of the Director." Cordray's resignation triggered this provision, and, English argues, Trump has sought to bypass this statutory requirement by using the Federal Vacancies Reform Act [text] to appoint an Acting Director from outside the CFPB.

The President's attempted use of the Federal Vacancies Reform Act to appoint an Acting Director of the CFPB is an obvious contravention of Congress's statutory scheme. The President's interpretation of the FVRA cannot be reconciled with Dodd-Frank's mandatory language. Where the two statutes conflict, Dodd-Frank controls as the later-enacted, more specific, and mandatory statute.

English filed the original suit [JURIST Report] on November 26 seeking a temporary restraining order in the US District Court for the District of Columbia [official website] against the Trump administration over the currently vacant director position at the CFPB. US District Judge Timothy Kelly refused the request [JURIST report] the following day.

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