Mick Mulvaney, the interim director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, advised bankers and lobbyists Tuesday to jack up their campaign contributions if they want to weaken the bureau's power, The New York Times reported.
Mulvaney, who also runs the White House budget office, told 1,300 people at the American Bankers Association conference in Washington that when he was a GOP House lawmaker from South Carolina, he only talked to lobbyists who had given him money, the Times reported.
"We had a hierarchy in my office in Congress," Mulvaney said, the Times reported. "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."
Trying to sway legislators that way was one of the "fundamental underpinnings of our representative democracy. And you have to continue to do it," Mulvaney urged, the Times reported.
Earlier this month, Mulvaney — a longtime critic of the Obama-era watchdog who vowed to sharply curtail its enforcement actions — asked Congress to wrest the bureau's funding from the Federal Reserve and give it to Congress, to give Congress veto power over bureau rules and to make the agency directly answer to the president.
The bureau was created by the 2010 Dodd-Frank Law as a way to prevent banks and other financial companies from preying on vulnerable consumers. Critics complain it has unchecked power and is too aggressive in trying to punish financial firms.
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