On Wednesday, May 21, The House Financial Services Committee Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigation heard testimony from three different witnesses. Two of the witnesses are from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and the other witness is a union representative. The reason for subpoenas being issued to secure the officials’ testimony is because of the subcommittee’s ongoing investigation.
This ongoing investigation is about allegations of discrimination and retaliation at the CFPB. According to a statement by Committee Chairman Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas), the subpoenas were issued after the CFPB and the union refused to allow witnesses to appear during a hearing that was held on April 2.
The hearing involved 115 employee grievances and 85 informal complaints. According to a press release from the House Financial Services Committee, CFPB attorney and whistleblower Angela Martin testified that “There is a pervasive culture of retaliation and intimidation that silences employees and chills the workforce from exposing wrongdoing.”
In addition, Angela Martin testified that CFPB managers were engaging in racial and gender discrimination. According to Nicholas Ballasy of Credit Union Times, Angela stated that “The mismanagement and abuse of authority have precluded me from doing my part to carry out the bureau’s important mission. Indeed, today marks the 400th day that I have been isolated and prevented from performing any meaningful work,” she said in her testimony. “I never received a fair shake at the bureau, and I have not been assigned one case or enforcement matter during my entire tenure.”
So far, the Bureau has denied each of the grievances that have been made against it. It was announced on June 12 that two more employees, who have also experienced retaliation and discrimination by the Bureau, would be subpoenaed in order to get to the bottom of the situation.
Credit Union Times reports Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chairman Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.) as stating that “This behavior has no place in our government and my subcommittee will not rest until we have exposed those CFPB leaders responsible.”
Some feel that it is unfortunate that the situation resulted in Congressional subpoenas in order for the committee to receive the answers necessary for the investigation. Over the next few months, the investigation will continue. The committee is determined to get to the bottom of the allegations of discrimination and retaliation that have been made.