Mick Mulvaney describes the “hierarchy in my office in Congress: If you’re a lobbyist who never gave us money, I didn’t talk to you.” (Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP)
Columnist

I had to read it and then read it again.

“We had a hierarchy in my office in Congress,” the director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau told bankers last week. “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.”

It gets worse.

“If you came from back home and sat in my lobby, I talked to you without exception, regardless of the financial contributions,” said Mick Mulvaney, a Republican former congressman South Carolina, who is also director of the Office of Management and Budget.

What’s bad about that last statement is what is implied in his choice of word — regardless.

“To be clear, not all members of Congress operate this way,” The Washington Post’s James Hohmann wrote. “Many offices take pride in meeting with people no matter how much money they have given or might in the future.”

Now pair what Mulvaney said with this other revelation from the banker’s meeting.

Mulvaney said he might do away with the database people use to file complaints against financial institutions, Hohmann reported.

“It’s all about the benjamins. It kind of always has been,” one reader wrote on The Post site.

Another wrote, “We have LONG known that this is how the system works, regardless of party affiliation. So why squeeze Mulvaney’s shoes for having the guts to openly acknowledge it?”

A Mulvaney representative says critics are missing the context of the director’s comments.

Mulvaney’s senior adviser, John Czwartacki, told ABC News: “He was praising people who come to town to participate in the democratic process and saying how being from back home was more important than being a lobbyist or having contributed cash.”

Read more: Mulvaney under fire for remarks about meeting with lobbyists as a lawmaker

You might also want to read the story in the New York Times: Mulvaney, Watchdog Bureau’s Leader, Advises Bankers on Ways to Curtail Agency

Color of Money question of the week
So, what do you make of Mulvaney’s remarks? Send your comments to colorofmoney@washpost.com. Please include your name, city and state. In the subject line put “Mulvaney.”

Live chat today
I’m all yours today. So, what’s on your mind about your money? Please join me today at noon (ET) when I’ll be live taking your personal finance questions. Here’s the link to participate in the chat.

Tax Day 2018

Last week, a lot of folks were concerned that they might not get their tax returns filed on time after IRS systems went down. The agency ended up having to extend tax day for another day.

Read more: IRS to delay tax deadline by one day after technology collapse

But millions of taxpayers — 14 million — waited until April 17 to file.

Read more: Well, that was a wild Tax Day. This is how many people procrastinated.

“I only procrastinated a week or so this year, and filed in mid-February,” a reader wrote on the Post’s site. “I wanted to get my return filed before anyone else impersonating me would have a chance to try.”

The person has a point. Check out: Tax-related identity theft is one of the IRS “Dirty Dozen” top tax scams.

Are we a nation of procrastinators?

I asked last week: Was there a time procrastination cost you money?

Chris from Chicago wrote, “After a fairly minor car accident (I was rear-ended), I kept forgetting to submit my emergency-room bills to the other driver’s car insurance agent. It was about $450, and though my health insurance covered the cost, I realized much later that the payment came out of MY flexible spending account. So instead of using that FSA money for my own prescriptions and contact lenses and dental expenses, I basically paid for being hit by another driver. Ugh.”

Janet of Vienna, Va., made a good point about putting off doing your will. She wrote, “So many adults procrastinate about preparing a will and are doing their survivors a huge disservice. My daughter and her husband are in their mid-30s with a child and I can’t convince them of the importance of having wills. This is the ultimate in procrastination that could cost them a lot of money someday.”

Don’t have a will? Read: Why is it important to make a will?

“I received a speeding zone ticket,” wrote Adrienne Washington of Oxon Hill, Md. “I IGNORED (her caps, not mine) it up until it was time to pay, and then forgot about it. It DOUBLED! I was not only paying a ticket for rushing to wherever I was going that day, but I now had to pay for it TWICE — $200. Lesson: Manage your time and read your mail.”

Sue Coney of Watertown, Mass., says she purposefully waits to file her tax return. She writes, “I am writing to advocate procrastination when it comes to filing tax returns — or at least to defend it. I use commercial software to prepare my return, and I usually enter all of the information into the program as soon as I receive the last of my 1099 forms. However, I wait to punch the “submit” button until the weekend before April 15. The reason is that, in the past, I have filed my return early, then received corrected 1099 forms from banks or brokers. The IRS makes filing an amended return a real pain — you have to redo everything, even for a minor correction, and there is no way to file electronically! So now I put off filing until I am as sure as I can be that nothing will change.”

Color of Money Columns this week
Knowledge isn’t power. The right knowledge is power.

Stay informed about your money.

In addition to this newsletter, please read and share my weekly personal finance columns.

Why does a 2-year-old have a credit card? How to protect your children from identity theft.

This is how it feels to be a millionaire and still feel broke

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Please note it is my personal policy to identify readers who respond to questions I ask in my newsletters. I find it encourages thoughtful and civil conversation. I want my newsletters to be a safe place to express opinions. On sensitive matters or upon request, I’m happy to include just your first name and/or last initial. But I prefer not to post anonymous comments (I do make exceptions when I’m asking questions that might reveal sensitive information or cause conflict.)

Have a question about your finances? Michelle Singletary has a weekly live chat every Thursday at noon where she discusses financial dilemmas with readers. You can also write to Michelle directly by sending an email to michelle.singletary@washpost.com. Personal responses may not be possible, and comments or questions may be used in a future column, with the writer’s name, unless otherwise requested. To read more Color of Money columns, go here.

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