Acting CFPB Director Settles In, Names Chief of Staff

The fight over his legitimacy is still active, but the acting director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is building out his team.

Mick Mulvaney on Tuesday announced the hiring of Kirsten Sutton Mork as the bureau’s chief of staff. Sutton Mork previously served as staff director of the House Financial Services Committee under its chairman, Texas Republican Rep. Jeb Hensarling.

“I worked with Kirsten during my tenure as a member on the House Financial Services Committee, and can attest to her in-depth financial policy expertise, proven track record of developing and implementing strategic initiatives, and ability to manage a team,” Mulvaney said in a statement announcing her hire.

Mulvaney has led the bureau in an acting capacity since November, when former director Richard Cordray left to pursue the Democratic nomination in the Ohio gubernatorial race. But Mulvaney’s status remains the subject of legal wrangling: Deputy director Leandra English asserted that the position was rightfully hers upon Cordray’s resignation, and that President Trump had no legal authority to nominate Mulvaney in her stead.

After several legal setbacks, English will have a day in court this spring: The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit will hear an appeal in the case on April 12, according to The National Law Review. The district court shot down a preliminary injunction she had sought against Mulvaney, the publication reported.

Meanwhile, Mulvaney and his team continue to issue orders and releases on CFPB letterhead, including recent calls for public input on the bureau’s actions and enforcement capabilities. The nomination of Sutton Mork represents the latest step Mulvaney has taken to assert his authority and shape the CFPB’s mission going forward.

“Kirsten brings with her more than a decade of invaluable experience that will advance the mission of the bureau and make it more efficient, effective, and accountable,” Mulvaney said.

The new chief of staff had been deputy staff director of the House Financial Services Committee since 2013, and assumed the staff director’s position last year. Sutton Mork also worked for Hensarling during the debate leading up to the passage of the Dodd-Frank financial reform package — which created the CFPB — in 2010.

Written by Alex Spanko

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