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Pay-to-Play on Display: 19 of the 30 Companies With the Most Complaints in CFPB Database Contributed to Mick Mulvaney

Mulvaney, Now Acting CFPB Director, Threatens to Hide Complaints From the Public

By Mike Tanglis

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In a speech to the American Bankers Association, acting Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Mick Mulvaney revealed how he operated in his recent career as a U.S. congressman.

“We had a hierarchy in my office in Congress,” Mulvaney said. “If you’re a lobbyist who never gave us money, I didn’t talk to you. If you’re a lobbyist who gave us money, I might talk to you.”

In the same speech, Mulvaney suggested he was considering shutting down the CFPB’s public facing database, launched in 2012, which tracks complaints against members of the financial industry. “I don’t see anything in here that says I have to run a Yelp for financial services sponsored by the federal government,” Mulvaney said. “I don’t see anything in here that says that I have to make all of those public.”

Public Citizen examined the 30 companies subject to the most complaints in the CFPB database, as well as the thousands of political contributions Mulvaney received between his election to Congress in 2010 and his departure in early 2017. We found that 19 of the 30 companies subject to the most complaints, including eight of the top 10, contributed to Mulvaney via their political action committees. The contributions from the 19 totaled $140,500.

The 19 Mulvaney contributors were subject to more than 520,000 complaints since the CFPB began accepting complaints 2011. Complaints concerning them account for 51 percent of all complaints submitted to the database.

Equifax, the company that allowed hackers to gain access to the private information of 143 million Americans in 2017 and then waited six weeks to inform them,4 was subject to the most complaints– a staggering 83,000. [Table 1] Even though Equifax was involved in one of the most highly publicized scandals in recent years, close to 70 percent of the complaints against it were submitted prior to the September 2017 revelation of the data breach.