Leandra English departs CFPB, drops legal case

The deputy director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau will step down early next week, a move prompted by Trump’s nomination of Kathy Kraninger to permanently head the bureau, she said in a statement. She also plans to drop her lawsuit seeking to be named acting director of the agency.

Former chief of staff Leandra English has resigned from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and ceded her legal fight to be the agency’s acting director.

English will step down early next week, a move prompted by Trump’s nomination of Kathy Kraninger to permanently head the bureau, she said in a statement. She will also be dropping her suit against Trump seeking to be named CFPB acting director, according to a statement from her attorney, Deepak Gupta.

“I want to thank all of the CFPB’s  dedicated career civil servants for your important work on behalf of consumers,” English said in the statement. “It has been an honor to work alongside you.”

Acting Director Mick Mulvaney named Brian Johnson, who currently serves as principal policy director at the bureau, to replace English as acting deputy director.

“Brian Johnson is the first person I hired at the bureau and has been an indispensable advisor,” Mulvaney said. “Brian knows the Bureau like the back of his hand.  He approaches his role as a public servant with humility and unsurpassed dedication.  His steady character, work ethic, and commitment to free markets and consumer choice make him exactly what our country needs at this agency.”

English has been at the heart of disputes over the bureau’s temporary leadership following former CFPB Director Richard Cordray’s resignation last November.

President Donald Trump appointed Mulvaney, who is also director of the Office of Management and Budget, interim director of the bureau. The White House pointed to the Federal Vacancies Reform Act to bolster Trump’s position.

Cordray, however, appointed English as deputy director just before departing. Cordray and English, who had been serving as chief of staff, claimed this appointment meant she automatically became acting head of the bureau following Cordray’s departure, citing the Dodd-Frank Act which created the bureau in 2010.

English then filed several unsuccessful lawsuits seeking to be instated as acting director while still showing up for work at the agency.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), who helped found the bureau, backed English for the role at the time. “From the earliest days of the CFPB, Leandra has directed her passion and formidable skills to building a strong, professional agency that stands up for consumers,” Warren said. “I’m grateful for her service and wish her the best in her future endeavors.”

Editor’s note: This story has been updated with the news of Johnson’s appointment and comments from Mulvaney.

Fredrikson & Byron Law