Ben Shapiro: CFPB Is ‘a Joke’ and ‘It Shouldn’t Exist’

Michael Morris
By Michael Morris | November 28, 2017 | 11:42 AM EST

Host of "The Ben Shapiro Show" and Editor-in-Chief of "The Daily Wire" Ben Shapiro (Screenshot)

On his daily Facebook Live podcast “The Ben Shapiro Show” Monday, host Ben Shapiro agreed with Mick Mulvaney’s assessment of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), calling the agency “a joke” and saying, “[I]t shouldn’t exist.”

“‘As a Republican congressman, Mick Mulvaney called the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau a “joke” and said he wished it didn’t exist’ – mainly because it’s kind of a joke, and it shouldn’t exist,” said Ben Shapiro while reading from The Washington Post.

Ben Shapiro’s comments came after Mick Mulvaney was appointed to head up the CFPB by President Trump late last week, while CFPB deputy director Leandra English was similarly appointed by Richard Cordray to fill the vacancy left as he resigned his post as CFPB director.

Below is a transcript of Shapiro’s remarks from his show Monday:

“Let me give you a brief rundown of what’s happening over at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau because this has become an issue in the last couple of hours.

“Basically, here’s the story, according to The Washington Post:

“‘As a Republican congressman, Mick Mulvaney called the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau a ‘joke’ and said he wished it didn’t exist’ – mainly because it’s kind of a joke, and it shouldn’t exist. ‘On Monday, Mulvaney showed up at the agency’s D.C. offices with doughnuts and a new title: boss.

“‘But after a frantic weekend of political and legal posturing, Mulvaney’s arrival represented a new escalation of tensions over who ultimately will lead the agency. A day earlier, Leandra English filed suit claiming she is the “rightful acting director.”

“‘Leadership of the agency was thrown into doubt last Friday when Richard Cordray stepped down as CFPB director and said his chief of staff, English, would temporarily replace him. A few hours later, Trump named Mulvaney, the Office of Management and Budget director and a longtime critic of the CFPB, to [do] the job.’

“Okay, let’s put it this way – this is insane. What Richard Cordray did here, and what Leandra English are doing here, it’s crazy.

“There are two bills that are governing: Okay, bill number one was passed in 1988, and it says the president has the power to fill all of these vacancies. Right? In 1988, there’s a bill that specifically says the president has the power to fill the vacancy. And then there is the Dodd-Frank bill, and the Dodd-Frank bill says the director, when he steps down, can appoint an interim acting director.

“Okay, that may be true, but the president can trump that if the president wants to fill the slot because otherwise the person is not subject to appointment. The person is not subject to senatorial go-ahead. Otherwise, you have a completely unaccountable bureaucrat appointing another unaccountable bureaucrat. That’s not the way that separation of powers works.

“This is an executive branch agency. Either the person who’s appointed has to be appointed by the president and approved by the senate, or it has to be appointed by the president.

“They don’t have executive branch agencies that run independent of the executive branch and the legislative branch. I mean, I guess the contention here is that Richard Cordray becomes his magical own dictator. The minute Richard Cordray steps into that office, now he has the power to appoint successors, and he gets to run the place the way that he wants to run the place. That’s not how this works.

“I mean, Richard Cordray was appointed, I believe, by President Obama, was the idea. And Richard Cordray—I mean this is a political stunt. There’s no question that this is a political stunt.

“They could have fired him. They didn’t fire him. Instead they allowed him to step down, but in stepping down he decided to start a political fire fight because he wanted to make a name for himself and run for governor of Ohio is basically the idea.

“Again, there’s nothing in law that allows Richard Cordray to trump the president of the United States.

“Remember that originally Obama appointed Cordray by using an unconstitutional recess appointment, Democrats threatened to change the filibuster rules and Republicans surrendered. This is back in 2013. And then in 2013, the senate confirmed the guy to a five-year term.

“But this is pretty cynical stuff.

National Review has a good piece by Ronald Rubin on this, and essentially, what it says is:

“‘Since 2010, Republicans have argued that the CFPB’s unique structure — an independent agency whose single director the president can fire only for cause, with guaranteed funding through Federal Reserve Bank profits rather than the congressional appropriation process — is a recipe for government abuse, if not unconstitutional. Cordray proved them right.

“‘Warren built a [Elizabeth Warren is the person who made these changes through Dodd-Frank] … , and Cordray deployed it. The bureau’s powerful media division dictated policy to its regulatory professionals and relentlessly exaggerated the agency’s achievements in daily press releases and social-media posts. Political operatives used the CFPB’s super-independence to stonewall congressional subpoenas and hide unethical investigation tactics, internal discrimination problems, and other inconvenient facts. Republican critics were dismissed as Wall Street sycophants.

“‘Meanwhile, millions of dollars were diverted from the CFPB to Democratic allies. From 2014 to 2017, the bureau paid $11 million a year to rent office space in an Obama fundraiser’s building.’

“They were allowed to do this because they basically ran the place like a fiefdom again.

“And then he entrenched Cordray, put a bunch of Democratic employees in during the first half of 2017, and then he awarded a $15 million contract to another one of Obama’s friends. He’s been doing all this stuff.

“And then finally, Trump was going to ‘use the Federal Vacancies Reform Act of 1998 [– that’s the bill I was referring to –] to appoint Budget Director Mick Mulvaney’ to come in and clean house at the CFPB.

“So instead, Cordray resigned and appointed his own replacement. He appointed ‘his chief of staff’ the CFPB deputy director, and they cited ‘language in the Dodd-Frank act – that the Deputy Director … shall serve as acting Director in the absence or unavailability of the Director.’

“Okay, that’s not the same thing as he steps down. Even the bill itself doesn’t say he can appoint his own replacement. It says that if he’s ‘absent or unavailable,’ like he’s overseas or something.

“But there’s no question that Trump is going to win this thing in court. I mean, if he doesn’t win this thing in court it’s just another example of insane political activism on the part of the courts which would not actually be supremely surprising.”

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