As the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s acting director, Mick Mulvaney, thinks the organization has too much power, and while he’s there he wants Congress to take away as much power as possible. Ring of Fire’s Mike Papantonio and Farron Cousins discuss this.


*This transcript was generated by a third-party transcription software company, so please excuse any typos.

Mike Papantonio:             Mick Mulvaney, the Leader of CFPB, thinks his organization has too much power, and while he’s there he wants Congress to take away as much power as possible. Well, first of all, look, we both know the history. Give us the background of Mulvaney. I mean, tell us a little bit about him.

Farron Cousins:                  Most of Mulvaney’s professional career has been financed by the payday loan industry, those predatory payday lenders. They’ve given a ton of political money to Mulvaney. And so the first thing he did, obviously, when he came into office, before he wrote this report asking for less power, was he dropped a bunch of lawsuits against the payday lending industry for all of their predatory practices, ripping off consumers, creating endless cycles of debt.

So Mulvaney last week issues his first report to Congress, and in this first report, which was supposed to be about what his agency is doing, about the only thing he says is, “I have so much power here to actually hold banks accountable that you’ve got to take it away from me. I don’t need this. I don’t want it. Let’s cripple this agency, and you can help me do it, Congress.”

Mike Papantonio:             Well, you know there’s only a couple … You can either read it like, “I, Mulvaney, am so stupid, and I’m afraid that you’ve given me all this power, because I’m a fool, and I’m going to use the power in the wrong kind of way.” Or you conclude the obvious, and that is he’s joined at the hip with the very industry that he’s supposed to be … he’s supposed to be in charge of making sure that this organization does their job and protects consumers.

There’s been some good results that this organization has gotten, and now all of a sudden he says, “Well, you know, consumers really aren’t that important. Yes, I was involved in an industry that ripped them off.” The payday lending process was such a scam. As a matter of fact, people went to jail because of it. I’m surprised, frankly, he didn’t go to jail because of it.

Farron Cousins:                  It’s so funny too, because he wants Congress to come in, because this is the group that’s supposed to be regulating those big banks, the Wall Street bankers, holding them accountable. And so by bringing Congress in, by saying, “You have to share this power with me, because it’s too much for me,” it’s going to let Congress once again regulate the banks, come up with the rules, come up with the penalties and punishments when they break the law. Not if, it’s a when. We know it’s when they break the law, and Congress will do nothing. We’ll end up in the same tailspin we were in 2007-2008, and the cycle will continue to repeat itself, because-

Mike Papantonio:             What he’s really doing, he’s creating a record. That’s what he really wants to do. He wants to be on the record as saying, “I’m the insider. I’m the guy that’s supposed to know most about it. And yeah, I’m either too stupid … you’ve given me too much power and I’m way too stupid for that power … or you know what, consumers really don’t matter.” They did a couple great things last year, if you remember, before Mulvaney took control. This agency has potential to really get some things done, don’t they?

Farron Cousins:                  It absolutely does, and those lawsuits against payday lenders were going to be huge. You could have shut down the industry, or at least fixed it, and Mulvaney steps in, says, “Nope, not good enough for me. Take away my power, because I’m too stupid to know what to do.”

Mike Papantonio is an American attorney and television and radio talk show host. He is past president of The National Trial Lawyers, the most prestigious trial lawyer association in America; and is one of the few living attorneys inducted into the Trial Lawyer Hall of Fame. He hosts the international television show "America's Lawyer"; and co-hosts Ring of Fire Radio, a nationally syndicated weekly radio program, with Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and Sam Seder.