Mick Mulvaney, President Donald Trump’s budget director, raised eyebrows on Tuesday with an anecdote about his time in the House of Representatives.
“We had a hierarchy in my office in Congress,” he said at the American Bankers Association conference in Washington, according to The New York Times. “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, a Republican who represented a South Carolina district from 2011 through early 2017, said he also spoke with constituents even if they hadn’t paid him.
The newspaper reported that he was encouraging the industry to lobby lawmakers:
“Mr. Mulvaney said that trying to sway legislators was one of the ‘fundamental underpinnings of our representative democracy. And you have to continue to do it.’”
He has come under fire for his cozy ties to the financial industry, especially payday lenders. As the Times noted, he collected $63,000 from such lenders.
Since being named acting head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau last year (in addition to running the Office of Management and Budget), he had not taken any enforcement actions against payday lenders, banks or other financial firms until last week’s $1 billion fine against Wells Fargo.
He has also specifically moved to ease regulations on payday lenders.
During a Senate Banking Committee hearing earlier this month, someone dressed as Rich Uncle Pennybags (aka “The Monopoly Man”) sat behind him.
- This article originally appeared on HuffPost.
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