WASHINGTON, D.C. Last week, Kenyan news outlet Mwakilishi.com reported that Consumer Financial Protection Bureau ( CFPB ) "Acting Director" Mick Mulvaney appeared to agree with bans on LGBTQ+ intimacy and relationships in Kenya and throughout the rest of Africa. The outlet further reported, "Mulvaney hinted at plans by Trump administration to scrap a policy by his predecessor Barack Obama for promoting gay rights in Africa." At the same time, the Wall Street Journal noted that Mulvaney has brought "a softer touch" to the CFPB's enforcement of laws that protect consumers.
"Through his words and actions, Mick Mulvaney has revealed himself to be a man with no regard for the impact his words and policies have on the lives of real people. His support for Kenyan laws that strip LGBTQ+ people of their simple human dignity and end up costing many their lives, is unconscionable," said Karl Frisch, Executive Director of Allied Progress.
He continued, "Mulvaney's support for these laws puts his perversion of the CFPB's consumer protection mission in important context. If someone is capable of supporting a repressive regime's laws banning same-sex love that cost many their lives, it's easier to understand why they feel no shame stacking the deck against consumers and in favor of big banks, predatory lenders, and financial scammers. Mulvaney seems incapable of expressing empathy, a vital human emotion all of our leaders should possess."
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
The CFPB is going soft in its enforcement duties.The CFPB resumed enforcement actions after pausing them under Mick Mulvaney's leadership; however, the resumed enforcement strategy focuses on negotiating with targets rather than litigating disputes. In recent settlements under Mulvaney, multiple cases did not include compensation for harmed consumers.[Yuka Hayashi, "CFPB Enforcement Is BackWith a Softer Touch," Wall Street Journal, 07/26/18]
Mulvaney hasn't even filed a single lawsuit since becoming CFPB Acting Director. [Yuka Hayashi, "CFPB Enforcement Is BackWith a Softer Touch," Wall Street Journal, 07/26/18]
Mulvaney thinks that discouraging anti-gay discrimination in Kenya is "'religious persecution'" and weakens "'Christian values.'" Mick Mulvaney defended Kenyan laws that discriminate against LGBTQ individuals saying that Obama Administration policies that promoted gay rights in Africa amounted to "'religious persecution.'" Mulvaney said it was "'stunning'" that the United States would withhold money from Kenya because of laws against gay marriage and abortion. Mulvaney said that doing so amounted to "'[discouraging] Christian values in other democratic countries.'" [John Wanjohi, "Trump Official Agrees with President Kenyatta's View on Gay Rights," Mwakilishi, 07/28/18]
Kenya's anti-gay laws criminalize consensual same-sex intimacy between adults, contribute to violence against the gay community, and prevent LGBTQ+ Kenyans from obtaining justice. Kenyan laws criminalize consensual sex between same-sex adults, and critics have said these laws are used to justify violence against LGBTQ individuals. According to Human Rights Watch, anti-LGBT laws make it difficult for those individuals to seek justice when they are victims of crimes in Kenya. [Tom Odula, "Rights group challenges Kenya's anti-gay laws in court," Associated Press, 02/22/18; "The Issue is Violence Attacks on LGBT People on Kenya's Coast." Human Rights Watch, 09/28/15]
Until recently, Kenyan adults accused of same-sex relationships were subjected to invasive medical exams, and were told they were not welcome by Kenya's Vice President. Until 2018, Kenyan law allowed for conducting forced anal exams on people accused of same-sex relations. In March 2018, a Kenyan court ruled the law was unconstitutional, but a different Kenyan court had upheld the law in 2016. Kenya's vice president has also said there is "'no room'" for gay people in Kenya. ["Kenya: Court Finds Forced Anal Exams Unconstitutional," Human Rights Watch, 03/22/18; Max Bearak, "Gay Kenyans sense they may be on the brink of a historic legal triumph," The Washington Post, 04/03/18]
Allied Progress is a consumer watchdog organization that uses hard-hitting research and creative campaigns to stand up to corporate special interests and hold their allies in Congress and the White House accountable.