Months after Richard Cordray left his job as a Washington D.C. Bureaucrat to run for governor of Ohio, controversy continues to surround his hasty exit from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, threatening to further derail his campaign. Fox News reports that the U.S. Office of Special Counsel is facing calls to investigate Leandra English, who Cordray tried to appoint as his replacement in an eleventh-hour attempt to undermine the president’s authority, for attempting to “burrow” into a “career position” at the CFPB under Cordray’s leadership. English appears to have been allowed into Cordray’s CFPB so that she could take over and continue his radical agenda of bureaucratic overreach and administrative malpractice after his departure. Cordray’s eagerness to put a political employee into a leadership position at the CFPB raises further questions about his record at the agency as he tries to bring his radical agenda to Ohio.
Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., head of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, is now asking the U.S. Office of Special Counsel to investigate Leandra English’s move to ‘burrow’ into a ‘career position’ at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau – switching from a political post at another agency in a shift that may have helped her stay employed in the government. ‘Burrowing’ is a term used to describe political appointees shifting to career positions.
In a Thursday letter obtained by Fox News, Johnson alleged that English got her job based on information that included “errors” and “potential conflicts of interest.”
‘[I]t may be appropriate for the Office of Special Counsel to review whether the conversion of Ms. English from a political appointment at OPM to a career position within CFPB adhered to the merit system principles,’ Johnson wrote to U.S. Special Counsel Henry Kerner.
English was the deputy director tapped last November by outgoing Obama appointee Richard Cordray to replace him at helm of the bureau, an Elizabeth Warren-touted agency which Republicans have accused of over-regulating lenders and operating with little oversight. Within hours, Trump named White House budget director Mick Mulvaney as acting bureau director. This prompted a lawsuit by English which a federal judge effectively dismissed, saying that denying a president the authority to make his own pick “raises significant constitutional questions.”
To this day, English remains as deputy director, serving under Mulvaney.
But the day after the judge’s Nov. 27 ruling, Johnson sent a letter to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management asking about English’s switch to the CFPB in late 2016, apparently after Trump was elected and before he took office. He asked how the agency allowed English – previously ‘a political appointee at OPM during the Obama administration’ — to ‘burrow’ into a career position at the CFPB…
Johnson said the response shows CFBP presented to OPM English’s application for a conversion “nearly three months after the position posting closed.” He also says OPM “hastily vetted and approved” the conversion — taking just 14 working days for the final approval.
Johnson also argued that OPM originally reported that English’s change came with an $11,000 salary increase. But the agency only corrected that figure – to $43,000 – in late December, blaming ‘clerical errors.’ This was well after the change had been approved.
He also raised questions about a conflict of interest, given that English worked for an official whose internal move created the vacancy and who served on the interview panels that resulted in her selection.