What Is Leandra English Doing All Day?

No one knows

Leandra English with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer / Getty Images
December 8, 2017

Leandra English is still coming to work at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, but it remains unclear what she actually does there.

Multiple requests for comment from English's lawyer and the CFPB were not returned regarding English's daily work activities and schedule. Aside from working on her lawsuit against the government and meeting with the Democratic leadership in Congress, little is known about English's current role as deputy director.

Acting Director Mick Mulvaney has sent numerous emails instructing English to stop calling herself acting director and return to duties "customarily performed by a deputy director." Those emails have gone unanswered.

Even still, Mulvaney told reporters earlier this week that he is "absolutely not" considering firing English.

English is working on her legal fight to preserve Democratic leadership at the CFPB under a Republican administration. After being rejected by the courts in her first attempt at blocking President Trump from appointing Mulvaney as acting director, English filed a second lawsuit Wednesday.

English has also held meetings with several Democrats, including Elizabeth Warren, the so-called brainchild of the CFPB.

She has been at the main CFPB headquarters "from time to time."

On the other hand, Mulvaney has been busy since assuming the acting director role, halting hiring, freezing all new regulations, and ordering a review of all the CFPB's active investigations and lawsuits.

The New York Times reported that Mulvaney's swift actions have brought an "atmosphere of intense anxiety" at the bureau. Some employees are "quietly resisting" and calling themselves "Dumbledore's Army."

Multiple calls to Deepak Gupta, English's lawyer, were not returned. Gupta was not taking press calls regarding English on Wednesday because he was busy filing the second lawsuit for English. Follow up calls asking about what work English is doing at the CFPB on Thursday were not returned.

English's lawsuit filed late Wednesday asks for an injunction to install herself as the acting director of the bureau. A U.S. District court sided with the White House in denying English's request for a temporary restraining order in her first attempt to block Mulvaney. The general counsel of the CFPB, who was hired by then-director Richard Cordray, agrees that President Trump has the authority under the Vacancies Reform Act to appoint Cordray's successor.

English was not a career official at the CFPB. She was a political appointee by the Obama administration to the Office of Management and Budget and shuffled between the agencies over the past several years. She was Cordray's chief of staff, and he named her deputy director before he resigned.

Sen. Ron Johnson (R., Wisc.), chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, has questioned English's "burrowing" from a noncareer, political role into a career position "outside of competitive hiring processes."