Senator Elizabeth Warren asks a subtle question about Mick Mulvaney's claim that he has favored lobbyists who donated money for his political campaigns during his time in Congress.
Now the former GOP lawmaker heads the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, a regulator designed to protect borrowers from pirate loans, does he prefer the same lobbyists?
"Almost every one of your key decisions at the CFPB has responded to a request from a lobbying organization that has given you tens of thousands of dollars in political campaigns," wrote Warren, a Massachusetts Democrat, in a letter to Mulvaney on April 26. "The public deserves to know if this is a coincidence or reflects the same kind of" hierarchy "you have created in running your convention office."
Warren joins a chorus of deputies on both sides of the political wing have criticized Mulvaney over comments he has made this week at a conference in Washington held by a lobby group of the banking sector.
At an American Bankers Association event, when he represented South Carolina in Congress, he refused to meet lobbyists who did not give him money. Mulvaney, who is now the budget leader and acting head of President Trump's CFPB, said his first priority as a legislator was listening to the concerns of voters from his home state.
"I'll put my old congress hat for a second," Mulvaney said at the ABA conference. "We had a hierarchy in our office in Congress, if you're a lobbyist who never gave us any money, I did not talk to you, if you're a lobbyist who gave us money I could talk to you When you came home from home and sat in my lobby, I invariably talked to you regardless of the financial contributions. "
CFPB officials said the agency had received Warren's letter and reviewed it.
Warren also wrote to the CFPB Ethics Officer asking what she is doing to make sure Mulvaney is working properly and what he and his staff have been apologizing for since joining the regulator in November.
Warren's condition is particularly worrisome Warren, the loudest critic of the financial industry in Congress. She introduced herself to the regulator and constantly defended her under a barrage of Republican grievances that her director has too much power over industry and that she does not owe accountability to Congress.
When he was in Congress, Mulvaney was a vociferous opponent of the CFPB. Now that he's directing him, he has said that he wants to uphold the rule of law.
Mulvaney has also said that if Warren and Democrats were frustrated because of his lack of responsiveness to their questions about his leadership of the agency, it was only his own fault. He argues that the Democrats have purposely set them up to limit the authority of Congress over the Agency.