WASHINGTON — Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., is probing ethics officials at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the Office of Management and Budget about acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney’s reported job discussions with a public university while serving as acting CFPB director and OMB director.
In a letter Wednesday to the designated ethics officials at the CFPB and OMB, Warren questioned whether Mulvaney’s discussions with the university were in compliance with the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act.
“The STOCK Act was passed to prevent conflicts of interest that would allow senior government officials to enrich themselves, their past employers, or any future employers at the expense of American taxpayers,” Warren wrote.
The letter comes after a Jan. 7 New York Times report that Mulvaney initiated discussions with a senior official at the University of South Carolina about the possibility of becoming the school’s next president, while leading the CFPB and the budget office. The report said Mulvaney is still interested in the presidency at the school.
Specifically, the STOCK Act requires officials like Mulvaney to recuse themselves from potential conflicts of interest and prohibits them from directly negotiating or having an agreement of future employment at an outside entity unless the negotiations were discussed with ethics officials.
Warren said the STOCK Act is particularly important in regard to any discussions Mulvaney may be having about a job at the University of South Carolina, because the school is receiving nearly $200 million in federal grants and contracts in the 2018-19 fiscal year. She added that the CFPB monitors financial products and credit card marketing agreements issued in conjunction with universities and alumni associations, including the University of South Carolina Alumni Association.
In the letter, Warren asks the designated ethics officials at the CFPB and the budget office whether Mulvaney disclosed negotiations with the University of South Carolina and if those conversations were in compliance with the STOCK Act. She asked if Mulvaney recused himself from matters involving the school and affiliated entities or if he has been approached about recusing himself from those matters. Warren also asked if there are any additional laws governing interactions with employees at the CFPB and the budget office and potential future employers.
She is asking for the ethics officials to respond to her letter by Jan. 29.
“Mr. Mulvaney is one of the top officials in the Trump Administration,” Warren said. “His compliance with the STOCK Act is crucial to protecting American taxpayers and maintaining public confidence in the integrity of the federal government.”