An educational “slush fund” used by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has come under the “strictest review” by acting director Mick Mulvaney amid concerns the Obama-era agency has been doling out cash only to Democratic cronies.
Mulvaney, President Trump’s budget chief who has been temporarily installed at the agency the president once promised to kill, is reviewing all spending by the troubled consumer watchdog created to protect Americans from big financial companies.
“All of this is under strictest review. While we get our arms around it, the director is personally approving any payment out of these funds to ensure that they are going to actual victims,” an official said. Mulvaney replaced former President Barack Obama’s director, Richard Cordray, who resigned in November.
CFPB, the brainchild of Democratic Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, collects fines from financial institutions and spends it on victims and educating the public on its mission. Millions of dollars have been set aside for the education funding.
But the agency has been secretive about who gets the money, and groups such as taxpayer watchdog Cause of Action and the Competitive Enterprise Institute have been critical.
Cause of Action Institute, for example, has drawn attention to a $14 million CFPB contract with GMMB Inc., a powerful media consulting shop that has produced political ads for Obama and 2016 runner-up Hillary Rodham Clinton.
And CEI has dubbed the education kitty a “slush fund” used by the agency for political favors.
The agency has leaned left since its creation and has been a Democratic Party donor bank, with its bureaucrats writing checks to liberals at a rate of 593 to one Republican, including $46,611 to Clinton, $13,190 to Warren, and $19,988 to Obama.
Cause of Action counsel Eric R. Bolinder cheered Mulvaney’s move to review the spending, especially the millions in educational funds.
“Given CFPB’s history of stark, unabashed partisanship, as exhibited by Richard Cordray’s final bizarre gambit to try to seize control of the agency and put it in the hands of [deputy] Leandra English, it is great news that Acting Director Mulvaney is rooting out political bias, beginning with a comprehensive review of all spending,” he told the Washington Examiner.
“Before Cordray’s recent resignation, the CFPB was an out-of-control agency operating with no oversight, doing more harm than good to consumers. CoA Institute is hopeful that Mulvaney’s reforms will result in some modicum of institutional budgetary control so as to prioritize the needs of consumers over liberal causes."
Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org