The court battle over control of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is coming to an end.
On Friday, Leandra English, the bureau’s deputy director, announced she plans to resign next week. English also intends to drop her suit challenging the Trump administration’s appointment of Mick Mulvaney as the agency’s interim leader.
In a prepared statement, English said she decided to step down “in light of the recent nomination” of Kathy Kraninger, an official in the White House budget office, for a five-year term leading the CFPB.
English’s attorney, Deepak Gupta, said in a statement he plans to file court papers Monday in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit to dismiss English’s case. English had appealed a trial judge’s ruling permitting Mulvaney to remain in place as the interim agency head.
“Now that President Trump has decided to seek Senate confirmation of a new director for the independent Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Ms. English is stepping down and we intend to file court papers on Monday to bring the litigation to a close,” said Gupta, a former CFPB attorney who now heads the Washington litigation boutique Gupta Wessler.
The move will bring a quiet end to a case that had set off a tumultuous transition of power at the CFPB.
English was elevated to the deputy director role in November, shortly before former CFPB Director Richard Cordray resigned to run in Ohio’s gubernatorial race. Cordray said the promotion of English, who’d previously served as his chief of staff, put her in line to step in as the interim leader under the succession plan spelled out in the Dodd-Frank Act. The White House had other ideas. It answered Cordray’s move by naming Mulvaney as the interim director.
In Washington federal district court, U.S. District Judge Timothy Kelly of the District of Columbia twice refused to block Mulvaney’s appointment. Kelly sided with the Justice Department’s view that the Federal Vacancies Reform Act empowered the president to appoint a federal official already confirmed by the Senate to step in as the CFPB’s interim director.
English appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, where a three-judge panel heard arguments in April. Gupta argued, in part, that the White House’s appointment of an interim director undercut the independence of the consumer bureau.
The Senate Banking Committee plans to hold a confirmation hearing for Kraninger on July 19. Democrats are widely expected to criticize her for lacking experience in the consumer finance arena. Her supporters contend she has the management chops that would help curtail spending, an area that has long drawn scrutiny from congressional Republicans.