The nation's largest credit union trade group has jumped into a court battle over the leadership of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, saying President Donald Trump has the power to pick the agency's acting director.

The Credit Union National Association, based in Madison, Wisconsin, and Washington, filed a proposed friend-of-the-court brief, saying the Federal Vacancies Reform Act gives President Trump clear authority to appoint Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney as the CFPB's acting director.

Leandra English, who also claims the title of acting director, has sued the administration to block Mulvaney from the post. She says the Dodd-Frank Act operated to automatically make her acting director "in the absence or unavailability of the Director" as soon as former CFPB Director Richard Cordray resigned Nov. 24.

However, the proposed CUNA brief, which marks the first such filing in the case by the financial services industry, said Dodd-Frank's "absence or unavailability" language only addresses temporary situations. It doesn't control cases such as this, where the director resigns, according to Alan S. Kaplinsky, the co-leader of Ballard Spahr’s consumer financial services group, who represents CUNA on the brief.

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