Government watchdog advisory board disbanded, members say

Ken Sweet
The Associated Press

NEW YORK – Members of a group of outside experts required by law to meet twice a year with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau said Wednesday that the group has been dissolved by CFPB head Mick Mulvaney.

Bureau officials told the 25 members of the Consumer Advisory Board on Wednesday morning that they will be replaced and the board will be reconstituted, according to two of board members who were on a morning conference call. An email on behalf of Mulvaney was also sent to board members telling them that their services were no longer required.

“Everyone on the board has been fired,” said Judith Fox, a professor at Notre Dame Law School who sat on the board for three years.

The advisory board, under the Obama administration, acted as a group of experts CFPB officials could talk with about coming trends or proposed regulation. It is basically the only group of outside experts that the CFPB director is required to interact with by law.

The board will be reconstituted in the fall, Fox said. None of the current members of the board will be eligible to apply. Members of two other boards that also provide outside expertise would also be replaced.

There had been murmurings about the fate of the consumer advisory board for weeks. Under the law that created the CFPB, the board is required to meet twice a year. But the meetings have repeatedly been canceled under Mulvaney. Under Obama appointee Richard Cordray, the board would meet two to three times a year for at least a couple of days. The most Mulvaney ever committed to, according to board members, was a 20-minute phone call.

A two-day meeting originally scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday of this week was canceled.