Mulvaney skips advisory board meetings

The acting director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has canceled multiple meetings with its consumer advisory board, causing statements of concern from some CAB members.

The acting director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has canceled multiple meetings with its consumer advisory board, causing statements of concern from some CAB members.

Mick Mulvaney has yet to meet with the CAB this year, despite being required by section 1014 of the Dodd-Frank Act to meet with the CAB at least twice a year. The CAB is mandated by section 1014 to “advise and consult with the bureau in the exercise of its functions.”

Ann Baddour
Ann Baddour

CAB Chair Ann Baddour expressed concern about a scheduled June meeting in a May 18 letter to Mulvaney. The CAB members were warned of possible cancellation when contacting the bureau about travel arrangements, she said. Baddour is director of fair financial services at Texas Appleseed, a nonprofit public interest justice center.

Once cancellation of the meeting was finalized, Baddour and 14 other CAB members wrote a second letter to Mulvaney expressing their dismay over cancellation of the June meeting, calling it a troubling sign. “The undersigned members of the CAB are extremely concerned that our collective input is not valued,” they wrote in the May 25 letter.

Two other in-person meetings, one scheduled for February and one for April, have been canceled so far this year as well as “numerous monthly telephone meetings,” according to the May 25 letter. One March 6 conference call with Mulvaney was scheduled for an hour, but he only spent 20 minutes on the call, the letter said.

Some critics have expressed concern that the cancellations are further proof of Mulvaney’s overhaul of the bureau, including rewriting its mission statement and reorganizing its structure.

The CFPB will meet all requirements for yearly meetings, the bureau said in a statement, but “it is natural that new leadership would re-evaluate its community and consumer outreach efforts, and that will necessarily include consideration of the timing, frequency, content, and other aspects of the bureau’s meetings.”

In March, the CFPB solicited applications for new board appointments, which typically last for three years. Announcement of new members is expected in September.

Baddour and 11 other CAB members held a June 4 press conference in which they suggested Mulvaney’s motivation was delaying the meetings until he had filled the board with “partisans who share only one viewpoint.”