pay for play
He just came right out and said it — on Tuesday, in front of 1,300 bankers and lobbyists at the American Bankers Association conference. Mick Mulvaney, head of the White House Office of Management and Budget and acting director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, let the financial lobbyists know that if they want lawmakers to vote in their favor, they had better make some campaign donations, The New York Times reports.
Before joining the Trump administration, Mulvaney used to be a Republican congressman from South Carolina. During his speech at the conference in Washington, Mulvaney shared that there was a "hierarchy in my office in Congress. 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."
Mulvaney and banks are both critical of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which was created in 2010 in order to keep banks from exploiting vulnerable consumers. He has asked Congress to pull funding of the independent watchdog group from the Federal Reserve, and told the audience on Tuesday that he needs their help to make this happen, and that's where their donations come into play. Since becoming acting interim director, Mulvaney has frozen new investigations and slowed down existing ones, the Times reports, and he's curtailed efforts to go after payday lenders — an industry that donated to his congressional campaigns — and other financial services companies that prey on the poor.
Mulvaney was just "making the point that hearing from people back home is vital to our democratic process and the most important thing our representatives can do," spokesman John Czwartacki told the Times. "It's more important than lobbyists and it's more important than money."