The down-is-up world of the Trump administration grew even battier Monday amid reports that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is scaling back its investigation into credit agency Equifax, which allowed hackers to access the personal information of more than 145 million Americans.
Because, you know, why would you want the nation's top consumer watchdog aggressively looking into one of the worst data breaches in the country's history?
When I first heard the news, I felt a little like Alice trying to adjust to the impossible happening. "One can't believe impossible things," she laments.
To which the White Queen replies: "I daresay you haven't had much practice. … Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast."
Reuters, citing "government and industry sources," said the bureau's interim director, White House budget chief Mick Mulvaney, has taken us through the looking glass by deciding not to issue subpoenas or seek sworn testimony from Equifax execs.
The CFPB also "has shelved plans for on-the-ground tests of how Equifax protects data," Reuters said.
The agency declined to comment directly on the report. It said in a statement that "the bureau is looking into Equifax's data breach and response. Reports to the contrary are incorrect."
But consumer advocates wasted no time in ringing alarm bells about what would be only the latest in a series of recent moves by Mulvaney to cripple the CFPB's regulatory role over the financial services industry.
Christine Hines, legislative director for the National Assn. of Consumer Advocates, told me Monday's news was "yet another recent tragic case of the agency going the wrong way on consumer financial protection."
Yana Miles, senior legislative counsel for the Center for Responsible Lending, said Mulvaney "is finding new ways to sabotage the consumer bureau."
"The administration should recognize the severe harm Mulvaney is doing to the public and nominate a director who has people's interest at heart," she said.