President Trump’s frugal budget director, in his latest bow to taxpayers, is skipping the usual ask for millions of dollars to run the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau he is temporarily running.
The reason for Mick Mulvaney’s extraordinary move: The agency has enough money to pay its bills.
In a letter to Federal Reserve Chair Janet L. Yellen, who funds the special consumer board, Mulvaney simply said, “I have been assured that the funds currently in the bureau fund are sufficient for the bureau to carry out its statutory mandates for the next fiscal quarter while striving to be efficient, effective and accountable.”
Mulvaney, the acting director of the embattled agency created by President Obama and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, normally would be asking for about $145 million each quarter to turn the lights on.
But in a deep dive review of the agency that aims to punish financial groups that take advantage of Americans, he discovered that it has $177.1 million on hand.
“This letter is to inform you,” he wrote to Yellen in the letter obtained by Secrets, “that for the second quarter of fiscal year 2018, the bureau is requesting $0.” The letter is posted below.
It is unknown if the move is unprecedented, but is surely rare and just the latest one by Mulvaney to lead the administration’s efforts to cut spending, trim waste, reduce regulations and slim down the federal workforce.
While it will likely be attacked by liberals as a signal the administration plans to kill off CFPB, there are no plans to end the agency, just stop collecting money it doesn’t need.
Mulvaney said CFPB has been keeping a “reserve fund.” But, he said, “I know of no specific statutory authority requiring the establishment or maintenance of such a fund. Moreover, I see no practical reason for such a large reserve, since I am informed that the [Fed] has never denied a bureau request for funding and has always delivered requested funds in a timely fashion. It is my intent to spend down the reserve until it is of a much smaller size, while still allowing the bureau to successfully perform its functions, before making an additional financial request,” he added.
Mulvaney said the amount may be small but the significance isn’t.
“While this approximately $145 million may not make much of a dent in the deficit, the men and women at the bureau are proud to do their part to be responsible stewards of taxpayer dollars,” he concluded in the letter.
Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org