Economy

Report: Mulvaney Signed Off On Deleting Wage Theft Data

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

Mick Mulvaney is ostensibly the director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), but he's also the director of the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and, in that capacity, he signed off on allowing employers to steal from their employees.

Last month we learned the Labor Department deliberately deleted data that showed employers could steel $640 million in tips from their employees each year if an Obama-era regulation was repealed.

Bloomberg Law reports that Mick Mulvaney personally intervened and overruled officials at the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs who wanted to include the data in the report on the potential consequences of repealing the regulation.

Mulvaney sided with Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta over the government’s rulemaking clearinghouse—a little-known but critical wing of the White House called the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs—three current and former executive branch officials told Bloomberg Law. That allowed the department to delete from the proposal internal estimates showing businesses could take hundreds of millions in gratuities from their workers. [...]

Acosta and his team elevated the dispute to Mulvaney, who as Office of Management and Budget director oversees OIRA, after Trump-appointed OIRA Administrator Neomi Rao and her staff attempted to block the Labor Department from issuing the tip pool regulation. Rao wanted the department to reinsert estimates quantifying how much workers could lose out on tips to their bosses, who would be allowed to participate in the tip pool.

The Labor Department's inspector general is investigating the process the led to the deletion of the data, but I'm sure Mick Mulvaney is safe. Trump likes him. He's a toady who will say anything and compromise any position he previously held in service of Trump.

  • muselet

    Bloomberg Law reported Feb. 1 that the original analysis compiled by DOL staff totaled billions of dollars. The department’s political leadership ordered new methodologies that progressively lessened the expected impact, according to sources.

    […]

    The figure that OIRA demanded the department include, before Mulvaney’s intervention, placed the total at $640 million in tips per year possibly retained by businesses.… Although $640 million was significantly less than the initial estimate, agency leaders decided this figure was still unreliable and moved to exclude a quantitative analysis from the proposal altogether.…

    [link omitted]

    I believe it’s safe to suggest that “unreliable” in this case translates as “inconvenient.” I believe it’s also safe to assume that no one who argued for excluding that analysis ever worked for tips.

    Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) grilled Acosta on the decision to withhold the data during a March 6 House appropriations hearing. The secretary offered a window into the department’s internal decision to exclude the numbers from the rule.

    “We looked at whether or not we could conduct an analysis that had assumptions based on data,” Acosta said. “[T]here are assumptions that have to be made. Will 100 percent of restaurants choose to share” tips “with management, or will zero percent of restaurants choose to share that with management? Depending on that assumption, we can generate pretty much any number. And so at the end of the day the determination was that the draft lacked sufficient data.”

    I wouldn’t have thought “we can’t be arsed” was an acceptable approach to analyzing proposed regulatory changes. Learn something new every day.

    I continue to be amazed by the lengths to which this administration will go in order to nullify actions by the previous administration.

    –alopecia

  • Aynwrong

    Maybe we should start referring to Trump’s voters as self loathing Americans.

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  • ninjaf

    I swear, these people…

    • Badgerite

      For fun, they steal the purses from little old ladies on the street.

      • ninjaf

        Real champions of the working poor, I tell ya.