CFPB headquarters. Credit: Diego M. Radzinschi / NLJ

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s deputy director, Leandra English, on Wednesday mounted her second effort at shutting out the Trump-appointed acting director of the agency, a power struggle now on a track that would take it to a federal appeals court.

English, represented by Deepak Gupta of Gupta Wessler PLLC, filed an amended complaint requesting a “preliminary and permanent injunction” to block the Trump administration’s designation of White House budget director Mick Mulvaney as the CFPB’s acting director.

Leandra English. Credit: Credit Union National Association.

Last week,  U.S. District Judge Timothy Kelly denied English’s request for a temporary restraining order to prevent Mulvaney from controlling the CFPB, saying that the Federal Vacancies Reform Act appeared “on its face” to allow the president to name an acting director for the agency.

English has argued that the Dodd-Frank Act, the law that gave rise to the CFPB, should dictate the process for temporarily replacing the agency director. Under the succession language in Dodd-Frank, the deputy director steps in as the CFPB’s acting director in the “absence or unavailability” of the director.

In the amended complaint, filed late Wednesday, Gupta argued that “the president’s attempt to appoint a still-serving White House staffer to displace the acting head of an independent agency is contrary to the overall statutory design and independence of the bureau, including its mandated independence from the Office of Management and Budget.”

Because her initial attempt was styled as a request for a temporary restraining order, English could not immediately appeal Kelly’s decision. Any denial of her injunction request can be appealed to the D.C. Circuit if it’s denied by Kelly, a Trump-appointee confirmed in September.

Gupta, a former CFPB attorney, has stressed in court that English is not contesting the Trump administration’s authority to take steps to install a Senate-confirmed successor to the agency’s former director, Richard Cordray, who on Tuesday announced his is running for governor of Ohio. Just before stepping down, Cordray promoted English, then his chief of staff, to the deputy director role and said she would become acting director.

 

English’s amended complaint is posted below.

 

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