News & Politics

José Andrés Offers Free Drinks to Consumer Agency Employees Who Suddenly Have Two Bosses

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's headquarters. Photograph by Flickr user Peyton Chung.

Employees of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau are surely having one of the odder post-Thanksgiving Mondays in Washington: The six-year-old agency is in a public leadership crisis. Although the bureau’s former director, Richard Cordray, named his deputy, Leandra English, to fill in on an acting basis after his departure last Friday, President Trump dispatched Mick Mulvaney, who heads the White House Office of Management and Budget, to take over.

While the power struggle will be heard in federal court Monday afternoon, restaurateur and Trump critic José Andrés is offering some relief for CFPB workers who don’t know to whom they are supposed to report. To that end, he’s offering a round of free drinks at his Washington restaurants to people who show proof they work at the embattled agency.

Trump, Mulvaney, and other Republicans have been critical of the CFPB under Cordray, an Obama Administration holdover who led the agency in punishing financial companies for exploitative or abusive practices, collecting $12 billion in penalties that were refunded to customers. While the 2010 financial-industry reform law known as Dodd-Frank gave the CFPB’s director a wide berth to name an acting successor, the White House is arguing that the appointment of Mulvaney—who would do the job in addition to being the administration’s budget director—is legal under the Vacancies Reform Act, which sets guidelines for presidential appointments.

But if all of this is an unwanted hassle for CFPB’s 1,600 employees, who would rather go about their duties reining in rule-breaking banks, Andrés’s offer should bring a bit of liquid relief. Per the chef’s tweet, the free drinks should be redeemable at any of ThinkFoodGroup’s DC locations, including Jaleo, Zaytinya, Oyamel, and China Chilcano.

Staff Writer

Benjamin Freed joined Washingtonian in August 2013 and covers politics, business, and media. He was previously the editor of DCist and has also written for Washington City Paper, the New York Times, the New Republic, Slate, and BuzzFeed. He lives in Adams Morgan.