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From Banking and Finance Law Daily, July 16, 2018

Democrats urge CFPB to reinstate dismissed CAB members

By Jacob Bielanski

A letter signed by 25 Senate Democrats urged the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s Acting Director, Mick Mulvaney, to reassemble the "statutorily required" Consumer Advisory Board, after all 25 members were dismissed last month.

In their letter, Democrats called on Mulvaney to immediately allow the former members to finish their terms, as well as providing a plan for meeting with CAB in the next year. Democrats warned that the CFPB is required to meet with CAB twice each year. The letter said Mulvaney had cancelled meetings with the board and had not rescheduled before the dismissal last month of all its members.

According to the letter, Mulvaney "barred any current CAB members from reapplying, raising concerns that his actions are not motivated by a desire to streamline processes, but by animus towards the current board members."

The CAB was formed by the Dodd-Frank Act as a body of industry representatives, academics, and consumer advocates that advise the CFPB on looming "threats" to consumer, according to the letter. "The [CAB] was assembled to provide a balanced perspective, ensuring that neither industry nor consumer advocates dominate," the letter said, noting that the dismissed members included 11 people from consumer advocacy groups, 11 industry representatives and three academics.

Democrats also requested information relating to the Mulvaney’s schedule for a number of specific dates throughout the first half of 2018, as well as details of any advice received for revising the board and a summary of who will comprise the proposed six-member board.

In the letter, Democrats attacked Mulvaney over his limited interaction with the board since assuming office, alleging that his only interaction has been a 20-minute phone call on March 6 that was "originally scheduled for one hour." March 6 was among the dates for which Democrats sought a full accounting of Mulvaney’s calendar.

Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) was the lead signatory on the letter, and was joined by others including Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) who originally proposed the CFPB.

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