A progressive group filed suit against the Trump administration on Wednesday seeking to obtain the employment records, emails and calendar of Kathy Kraninger, a White House official nominated to be director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
Allied Progress, a nonprofit advocacy group, is seeking to enforce Freedom of Information Act requests it filed last month for records about Kraninger’s work at the Office of Management and Budget, according to the lawsuit filed in D.C. federal court.
The Office of Management and Budget, where Kraninger works, and the CFPB were named in the lawsuits. OMB and the CFPB did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
It is the latest effort by consumer advocates to protest the Trump administration’s takeover of the consumer watchdog agency. Kraninger, they worry, would defang the agency, which oversees the relationship between consumers and various financial companies. “If OMB and CFPB are going to stonewall the release of documents and information that could shed light on Kraninger’s record, we have no choice but to go to court,” said Karl Frisch, executive director of Allied Progress.
Kraninger is expected to have enough Republican support to ultimately be confirmed but has already frustrated some Democrats and consumer advocates by refusing to answer questions about her work at the OMB, including whether she played a part in the administration’s “zero-tolerance” immigration policy. Repeatedly asked by Democratic lawmakers about the issue last week, Kraninger said she played no role in “setting the policy” but declined to answer questions about whether she had supported or helped implement it. “I don’t believe it’s appropriate or fair or right to articulate the advice that I gave,” she said during the Senate Banking Committee nomination hearing.
If confirmed, Kraninger would replace the bureau’s acting director, Mick Mulvaney, who is also the White House budget chief and Kraninger’s boss. Kraninger is best known for her years of experience in homeland security, including helping set up the Department of Homeland Security after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. But she has no apparent experience as a financial regulator.
Her confirmation would usher in a new era for the CFPB. For Republicans, who have long despised the agency and complained that it has too much power, Kraninger would offer a welcome reprieve. During her confirmation hearing, Kraninger indicated she would continue the agency’s pro-business shift started by Mulvaney late last year. Among her priorities, Kraninger said, was the use of cost-benefit analysis to measure the price tag of regulations to industries.