Press Release: Acting Head of Consumer Protection Office Likely Violated Anti-Lobbying Law

POGO Filed an Official Complaint with the Government Accountability Office

Today, the Project On Government Oversight filed an official complaint regarding a potential violation of the grassroots lobbying ban by Mick Mulvaney, the acting director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and director of the Office of Management and Budget.

During a speech in Washington yesterday, Mulvaney encouraged banking industry executives to invest in lobbying efforts to urge Congress to take control of the CFPB by altering its funding source, which would reduce the CFPB’s independence and insulation from industry influence.

However, federal anti-lobbying laws prohibit executive branch agency officials from using appropriated taxpayer funds to urge the public to contact Congress to support or oppose pending legislation. POGO believes that the combination of Mulvaney’s speech and the pending legislation involving CFPB funding and independence resulted in a violation of the anti-lobbying law.

Our complaint was filed with the Government Accountability Office (GAO) today and demands an investigation into whether Mulvaney’s comments violated the law.

“Improper executive branch influence on Congress is a serious infringement on our system of checks and balances,” said POGO Executive Director Danielle Brian. “In his speech, Mulvaney said that trying to sway legislators was one of the ‘fundamental underpinnings of our representative democracy.’ But using an executive branch office to urge the public to influence Congress is illegal, and the opposite of the accountable, effective, and efficient democracy that we are working toward.”

“We’ve been demanding action on violations of this law for years, across administrations, and we hope that the GAO will act on our complaint as soon as possible,” said POGO General Counsel Scott Amey.

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Founded in 1981, the Project On Government Oversight (POGO) is a nonpartisan independent watchdog that champions good government reforms. POGO’s investigations into corruption, misconduct, and conflicts of interest achieve a more effective, accountable, open, and ethical federal government.

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