|Deputy Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau|
November 24, 2017 – July 9, 2018
|Preceded by||David Silberman (Acting)|
|Succeeded by||Brian Johnson (Acting)|
New York University (BA)|
London School of Economics (MS)
Leandra English is an American government official who served as the Deputy Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) from 2017 until her resignation in 2018. She was the plaintiff in the lawsuit English v. Trump, in which she sought to have herself acknowledged as Acting Director of the CFPB.
English has served in many capacities as a member of the U.S. federal government. Before joining the CFPB, she worked in both the U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and the Department of the Treasury. She worked on the transition team that launched the new agency in 2010. She later served as Deputy Chief of Staff. She then returned to OMB, serving as senior advisor to the Deputy Director of Management. She returned to CFPB in 2015, serving as Deputy Chief Operating Officer and then Chief of Staff.
Legal Battle Over CFPB Leadership
On November 24, 2017, English was appointed Deputy Director of the CFPB by outgoing Director Richard Cordray. Cordray resigned his position as Director effective midnight November 25, 2017, and sent a letter to CFPB staff announcing that English would serve as Acting Director. That same evening, President Donald Trump appointed the Director of the Office of Management and Budget, Mick Mulvaney, as the Acting Director of the CFPB. On November 26, 2017, English filed a lawsuit in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia to block Mulvaney from taking leadership of the CFPB.
English has received backing from a number of current and former Democrat legislators calling her the rightful Acting Director, including Senator Elizabeth Warren, Senator Sherrod Brown, Senator Richard Durbin, Representative Nancy Pelosi, and former Representative Barney Frank, co-author of the Dodd-Frank Act. A number of law professors also support her position, including Laurence Tribe, Martin Lederman, and Nina Mendelson.
The Federal Vacancies Reform Act (FVRA) allows the president to appoint an interim replacement for an appointed officer of an executive agency without Senate confirmation, but the FVRA does not provide the "exclusive means" for filling a vacancy when "a statutory provision...designates an officer or employee to perform the functions and duties of a specified office temporarily in an acting capacity." The law establishing the CFPB (the Dodd–Frank Act) is arguably unclear about whether the director's resignation qualifies as "unavailability" under FVRA, leading to confusion as to who would lead the agency and setting up a legal battle.
The Office of Legal Counsel has consistently interpreted the FVRA as providing a non-exclusive option for appointing a successor when another, more specific option exists in another statute (in this case, the Dodd–Frank Act). The Office of Legal Counsel thus released an opinion that the FVRA gives the President the right to appoint an interim successor in this case. The top lawyer at the CFPB concurred with the Trump administration's opinion and directed all staff at the agency to disregard English's claims to be the Acting Director.
She resigned from office on July 9, 2018, in light of President Trump's appointment of Kathleen Kraninger to serve as CFPB director full-time. She was succeeded by Brian Johnson, who was appointed to serve in an acting capacity.
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- Wattles, Jackie. "Cordray resignation sets off scramble over Consumer Financial Protection Bureau". CNNMoney. Retrieved 2017-12-13.
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- Merle, Renae (2017-11-26). "Leandra English, the woman at the center of a White House battle for control of the CFPB, files lawsuit against Trump pick to lead watchdog agency". Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 2017-12-13.
- Fox, Michelle (2017-11-27). "Sen. Warren backs Leandra English in fight over consumer protection office". CNBC. Retrieved 2017-12-12.
- "Dueling directors at Consumer Financial..." MSNBC. Retrieved 2017-12-12.
- Pelosi, Nancy (2017-11-28). "Incredibly thankful for the determination of Leandra English, the rightful Acting Director of @CFPB. #DefendCFPBpic.twitter.com/giUKsOCL2p". @NancyPelosi. Retrieved 2017-12-12.
- "Elizabeth Warren and the left go to war with Trump over the future of the top consumer watchdog agency". Business Insider. Retrieved 2017-12-12.
- Savage, Charlie (2017-11-27). "Who's the Real Head of the Consumer Watchdog Agency? A Legal Fight, Explained". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-12-12.
- "More Thoughts on the CFPB Puzzle: President Trump Can Select Someone to Run the CFPB Only if the Senate Has an Opportunity to Confirm, by Nina A. Mendelson | Notice & Comment". yalejreg.com. Retrieved 2017-12-12.
- Dayen, David (2017-11-24). "Richard Cordray Sets Up Titanic Struggle For Control of the Consumer Protection Bureau with Last-Minute Move". The Intercept. Retrieved 2017-11-25.
- Puzzanghera, Jim (2017-11-24). "Trump names Mulvaney as acting CFPB chief as Richard Cordray departs". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2017-11-25.
- Merle, Renae (25 November 2017). "White House consulted Justice Department before naming CFPB critic to lead agency, administration says". Retrieved 29 November 2017 – via www.washingtonpost.com.
- Woellert, Lorraine (26 November 2017). "Consumer bureau's top lawyer sides with Trump in leadership clash". Politico. Retrieved 16 December 2017 – via www.politico.com.
- Puzzanghera, Jim (July 6, 2018). "Leandra English resigns from CFPB and drops her legal fight to be its acting director". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved July 9, 2018.
- Hall, Phil (July 9, 2018). "Leandra English Quits CFPB". National Mortgage Professional Magazine. Retrieved July 9, 2018.
- Lane, Sylvan (July 9, 2018). "Mulvaney appoints top aide as consumer bureau acting No. 2". The Hill. Retrieved July 9, 2018.
| Deputy Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau