It’s standard operating procedure for lawmakers to declare that campaign donations by special interests do not sway them, even though the vast majority of their constituents don’t believe it. That’s what makes acting Consumer Finance Protection Bureau Director Mick Mulvaney’s comments to a banking industry trade association on Tuesday so remarkable. Not only did Mulvaney fail to offer the customary disclaimers about the influence of money in politics, he said that, back when he was a Republican congressman from South Carolina, he would sit down with interest groups if, and only if, they contributed to his campaign.
According to the campaign finance site OpenSecrets.org, nearly 90 percent of the money Mulvaney raised for his 2016 re-election campaign came from business political-action committees, and about half of it came from the finance industry he now regulates at the CFPB. Make that the industry he’s supposed to regulate, given that Mulvaney has blocked new rules at the bureau, targeted several major existing ones for reversal and dropped a number of pre-existing enforcement actions since taking over in November.
Mulvaney dangled another goody in front of his audience Tuesday, raising the possibility that the bureau no longer will give the public access to the complaints it collects about financial products and services.
Mulvaney — who in his spare time serves as the architect of the White House’s disastrous, debt-crazed budget policy — has emphasized the importance of humility when it comes to the bureau’s regulatory authority. But his endorsement of pay-to-play politics and his ham-handed reversals of the bureau’s operations are anything but humble.
FROM AN EDITORIAL IN THE LOS ANGELES TIMES