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Alex Wong / Getty

Thirty-two Democratic senators cosigned a letter to the Consumer Financial Protection Board leadership questioning whether its investigation into the Equifax breach was halted for political reasons.

Why it matters: Acting Director Mick Mulvaney, who opposes the existence of the agency, has made it clear he intends to fulfill CFPB's "statutory requirement" to implement and enforce consumer protection laws as narrowly as possible. And reports that the agency stopped its Equifax probe seems like a perfect test case of what will and will not be investigated by the office under Mulvaney.

Note: The senators' letter was addressed — in a trolling fashion — to "Acting Director" Leandra English and to "Director [of] Office of Management and Budget" Mick Mulvaney, a reference to last year's procedural power struggle that left Mulvaney in charge.

Does it matter if the FTC takes the lead? The senators appear unimpressed by the possibility the Federal Trade Commission may be leading the Equifax probe on its own: "[T]he CFPB still has a duty to investigate the harm to consumers and whether other federal consumer financial laws have been violated," they wrote.

Is the CFPB abandoning oversight of credit rating bureaus entirely? The letter continues: "We are also concerned that the CFPB appears to be scaling back its supervision of large consumer reporting agencies. The agency has reportedly scrapped plans to conduct on-site exams of Equifax and other consumer reporting agencies and turned down offers from the Federal Reserve, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, and Office of the Comptroller of the Currency to help with such on-site exams."

Go deeper

Caitlin Owens, author of Vitals
2 hours ago - Health

Biden taps ex-FDA chief to lead Operation Warp Speed amid rollout of COVID plan

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

President-elect Joe Biden has picked former FDA chief David Kessler to lead Operation Warp Speed, a day after unveiling a nearly $2 trillion pandemic relief plan that includes $400 billion for directly combatting the virus.

Why it matters: Biden's transition team said Kessler has been advising the president-elect since the beginning of the pandemic, and hopes his involvement will help accelerate vaccination, the New York Times reports. Operation Warp Speed's current director, Moncef Slaoui, will stay on as a consultant.

The case of the missing relief money

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

A chunk of stimulus payments is missing in action, thanks to a mix up that put as many as 13 million checks into invalid bank accounts.

Why it matters: The IRS (by law) was supposed to get all payments out by Friday. Now the onus could shift to Americans to claim the money on their tax refund — further delaying relief to struggling, lower-income Americans.

The post-Trump GOP, gutted

McConnell (L), McCarthy (R) and Trump. Photo: Erin Schaff-Pool/Getty Images

Republicans will emerge from the Trump era gutted financially, institutionally and structurally.

The big picture: The losses are stark and substantial.