CFPB Deputy Director Leandra English will drop her months-long legal challenge to Mick Mulvaney for the leadership of the embattled agency, saying on Friday that she will leave the consumer watchdog early next week.
In a statement, English said she was stepping down in light of President Donald Trump’s nomination of a permanent director, Kathy Kraninger, to run the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
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If confirmed, Kraninger would succeed Mulvaney, the White House budget director, who has also served as acting director of the consumer bureau since November, sparking controversy over his efforts to rein in its operations.
“I want to thank all of the CFPB’s dedicated career civil servants for your important work on behalf of consumers,” English said. “It has been an honor to work alongside you.”
English’s lawyer, Deepak Gupta, said his client would be filing paperwork on Monday to “bring the litigation to a close.”
The legal fight over the future of the agency goes back to the day after Thanksgiving, when then-CFPB Director Richard Cordray abruptly stepped down and named English, his chief of staff, as his successor.
Within hours, Trump appointed Mulvaney to serve as interim CFPB director.
English filed suit against Trump, arguing that the Dodd-Frank Act — the landmark 2010 law that created the CFPB — explicitly gave Cordray the authority to appoint an interim director until the Senate approved a nominee to lead the agency full time.
The Trump administration maintained that the financial reform law does not supersede the Federal Vacancies Reform Act, which gives the president the power to fill a vacancy at an executive agency.
The case, which raised questions about the legality of Mulvaney’s dual roles running an independent agency while serving at the direction of the president, had been appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.
Following English’s announcement today, consumer advocacy groups praised English for her tenure at CFPB, referring to her as the acting director.
“Leandra English courageously stood up for the independence of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau at a particularly difficult and challenging time,” said Linda Jun, senior policy counsel at Americans for Financial Reform.
“Now that the president has engaged in the process of nominating a director for Senate consideration, something he should have done long ago, the time is right to thank Ms. English for her service to consumers and to the law,” she added.
Kraninger, a little-known White House budget official who works under Mulvaney, does not have a track record on financial policy. She will face the Senate Banking Committee for her nomination hearing on July 19.