Richard Cordray, who rarely acknowledged criticism of his leadership skills when he was Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), launched into an epic Twitter rant
against the contents of a memo sent by Mick Mulvaney, the bureau’s Acting Director, to his staff that called the Cordray style of governance into question.
In the e-mail, which was made public via the left-wing news site ProPublica, Mulvaney cited comments made by Cordray that defended the agency’s reputation for “pushing the envelope” in its enforcement practices
, and argued that was the worst approach for a regulator to employ. Cordray, dripping with sarcasm, used Twitter to reference the department’s “squatter leadership” while trying to defend his record.
“Leaked memo from the CFPB’s putative acting director says the agency will no longer ‘push the envelope’ on behalf of consumers as we did on my watch,” he tweeted. “Did we push hard to see that people are treated fairly by big banks, debt collectors, and payday lenders? You bet we did.”
Cordray also belittled Mulvaney’s quotation from Robert Bolt’s play on St. Thomas More, “A Man for All Seasons,” and added a historic quote of his own.
“I dug frequently into Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations during the tribulations at CFPB last year,” he tweeted. “His Stoic outlook holds great appeal. We must try our utmost to be deserving and worthy of respect. External vicissitudes must be kept in perspective. Easier said than done though!”
Cordray, whose period of leadership at the CFPB was pockmarked with complaints of discrimination in the personnel process, cost overruns in the agency’s headquarters renovation and ham-handed enforcement coupled with vague instructions on regulatory guidelines, quit his job in late November to pursue the Democratic nomination for governor of Ohio. He also used Twitter to support Leandra English, his hand-picked interim successor—two courts have blocked the English promotion, and a federal appeals court is now hearing that case.